MANILA, Philippines — Candidates who won legitimately in the elections will surely have the support of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
“Whoever wins honestly, whoever takes the oath of his or her office seriously, whoever strives to heal the wounds of the divisiveness of politics, whoever respects the rights of all and is earnest in his or her fear of God and is zealous for his precepts has the support of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines,” CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a pastoral statement issued on Saturday.
He added, “We will do everything together with our priests so that all our people, to the remotest barangays to which we minister, may rally around a just and God-fearing government that visits no vengeance on foes but is characterized by mercy and compassion for all, not only for allies!”
With this, the Catholic prelate urged the faithful especially those who will be casting their votes in the May 9 polls to vote not only because it’s their right of suffrage but also as a public declaration of faith.
“The Catholic Church has never asked any political candidate to seek its endorsement, but the Catholic Church has always demanded of Catholic voters that they cast their votes as an act not only of citizenship but also as a public declaration of faith. We ask this most earnestly of all of you, Catholic brothers and sisters, in the forthcoming election,” Villegas said.
At the same time, the Lingayen-Dagupan prelate pleaded to those seeking public office not to deceive the public by giving false promises.
“In less than two weeks, the sovereign people will choose who should govern them. It is this that makes us a free people. We, your bishops of this country, therefore ask of you to allow each Filipino the free and untrammeled right to an informed choice. This means, among other things, that you cannot deceive or mislead the people by proffering them falsehoods, much less defraud the nation,” he said.
The head of the CBCP added, “As we advise our voters, so we also say to you dear candidates: Pray! Pray not only to win but pray that the Lord may show by His signs His chosen leader for this nation, this nation who calls on Him at the crossroads of its national life.”
Likewise, Villegas urged those who will win in the elections to make peace with their rivals, move forward for the benefit of the people and the country
“When the elections shall have been concluded and winners proclaimed in accordance with law, we beg you all, in the name of Jesus Christ, to be instruments of peace, reconciliation and healing,” he said.
The Archbishop added. “Let those who prevail rise in nobility above the hurtful words that may have been uttered by opponents, and draw them rather into a government of unity, but unity that firmly rests neither on expediency nor compromise, but on truth and justice.”
He also commended the various initiatives of our Catholic laity and other youth associations to come together and pray for guidance in choosing the right leaders.
“In particular, we encourage you to pray the rosary every day and receive Holy Communion starting May 1 until May 9. In this novena of rosaries and Masses, we claim from the Lord the gift of a godly electoral process. With the permission of the bishops, the Blessed Sacrament may be exposed for public adoration to beg the Lord for the gift of peaceful elections,” Villegas said. PNA/northboundasia.com