CBCP to pols: Don’t mislead voters

Eva Visperas - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s Catholic bishops are urging candidates in the May 9 elections to “allow each Filipino the free and untrammeled right to an informed choice.”

In a statement yesterday, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippine president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said this means that the people should not be deceived or misled by proffering them falsehoods.

Villegas said the presidential and vice presidential debates, which were aired on television, as well as the interviews of candidates, have given the public a glimpse of who they are, what they represent and the causes they champion or reject.

He urged voters not to choose candidates who take positions that are not only politically precarious but worse, morally reprehensible.

The desire for change is understandable since people have suffered from incompetence and indifference, Villegas said.

“But this cannot take the form of supporting a candidate whose speech and actions, whose plans and projects, show scant regard for the rights of all, and who has openly declared indifference if not dislike and disregard for the church, specially her moral teachings,” Villegas added.

He said the Catholic church has never asked any political candidate to seek its endorsement.

“However, it has always demanded Catholic voters to cast their votes as an act not only of citizenship but also as a public declaration of faith,” he said.

Meanwhile, bishops are also urging candidates to “pray not only to win but that the Lord may show by His signs His chosen leader for this nation – this nation that calls on Him at the crossroads of its national life.”

After the elections and proclamation of the winners, bishops are also calling on everybody to be instruments of peace, reconciliation and healing, Villegas said.

Meanwhile, the five presidential, six vice presidential and 50 senatorial candidates are expected to sign tomorrow a covenant for Truthful, Responsible, Upright, Transparent and Honest (TRUTH) elections. – With Sheila Crisostomo, Evelyn Macairan

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