Catholic bishop: Use conscience, discernment in voting



Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma

CEBU CITY, Philippines–The Catholic Church will not impose their influence on the electorate.

CEBU CITY, Philippines–The Catholic Church will not impose their influence on the electorate.

With the May 13 elections drawing closer, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma expressed hope that people would vote based on their conscience, not because of any mandate from the Church.

“Is there such a thing as a Catholic vote? No and Yes,” said the 62-year-old-prelate during his homily at the Pontifical Mass for the feast of Holy Child Jesus at the Basilica del Sto. Niño’s pilgrim center Sunday morning.

“The bishops are not coming out with names of who you should vote for. There is no Catholic vote for bishops. But there is a Catholic vote discerned by people,” he added.

Palma, also the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, deemed it prudent to let the people choose their own candidates.

“If we do good in the elections, we know that the exercise of democracy will also be good,” Palma said.

He, however, reiterated his concern about the use of the Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS) machine during the automated elections.  “Do I trust the PCOS machines? Yes, I trust the machines but people operating the machines should be trained,” he said.

Palma presided over the 6 a.m. Mass at the jampacked pilgrim center. The throng of devotees overflowed to nearby streets around the centuries-old church.

Some 50 priests and bishops were present during the Mass. Several balloons were released to the air as the congregation sang “Bato-Balani sa Gugma,” an ancient intercessory hymn to the Sto. Niño. The sea of devotees also waved their hands in the air as a sign of total trust and surrender to God.

In his homily, Palma thanked the Lord for the fine weather and urged the people to contemplate upon Jesus’s childhood and His message to grow in faith.
“Although He is small, the Sto. Niño is the almighty God; the magnet of love. It’s not so much of what we have done but because God loves us,” he said.

Palma said one should learn to be obedient to God’s will in their journey of faith.

“Amid the sorrows that we experience, life is beautiful. If we have been recipients of God’s blessings, we should share them. If we received forgiveness, we should also be willing to forgive,” he said.

As the Cradle of Christianity in the Far East, Palma said Cebuanos should always pray. “When we receive presents from the Lord, we should thank Him for these heavenly treasures,” he said.

Before he ended his homily, Palma lauded the Cebu congressmen who voted against the controversial Reproductive Health law, “for defending the Christian faith.”

They were Representatives Eduardo Gullas, Pablo Garcia, and Pablo John Garcia, Benhur Salimbangon, Pastor Alcover, and Rachelle Marguerite Del Mar.

“Even if the RH bill was approved, let us trust in God, especially those who want to have many children. Yes the population has increased, but God will not abandon us,” Palma said.

Sunday marked the 447th Fiesta Señor celebration. On 2021, Cebu and the rest of the Philippines will celebrate the 500th anniversary or the fifth centennial of the Christianization of the Philippines.

The image of the Sto. Niño was given by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan as a baptismal gift to Cebu’s Queen Juana in 1521. The original image of the Child Jesus is publicly venerated at the chapel inside the basilica.

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  • joshmale2004

    Now the Catholic flock is in dilemma who to follow. Bishop Palma for Conscience vote or Bishop Navarra for No votes to RH supporters. Seems no clear direction and leader for the catholic stand right now.

    • Hein S

      Headless snake.

  • tarikan

    Suddenly a change of heart? Partly because of the backlash from the flock? I told you bishops that we, the faithful are given the FREE WILL and by god we will exercise it without fear or favor. Amen?


    WITH or without impositions, you have no value whatsoever with your nonsensical and comedic
    uncalled for kibitzing in affairs you have no business in while abandoning the very perons na nagpalamon, nagpapalamon, at magpapalamon sa inyo, mga TNL!

  • 12JEM

    Impose what you want and you will be rebuked by your members.

    We are members of the RCC and more than 75% of us support the RH Law.

    The clergy is clearly miles behind the laity when it comes to critical issues like Reproductive Health.

    Even the Pope has made allowance for the use of condom in HIV/AIDS ravaged areas of Africa.

    But here in the Philippines the clergy is still very much against the use of condom even while spread of HIV/AIDS is becoming worrisome.

  • Pulis Na Pogi

    as if you have influence over your flock!

    hoy, gising!

  • Fulpol

    Iglesia ni Cristo won’t vote based on conscience… their ministers just say that…

    Catholics won’t vote based on conscience too… the Bishops are just applying the same principle 400 years ago….

    you got fanaticism, you got absolute liberalism.. just for the sake of controlling and retaining the flock…

    a monkey business…. indeed a monkey business…

  • quirinomayer

    Palma did not have a change of heart. He is just being haunted by what happened in 2001 when the leaders of the Catholic Church campaigned all out against Sen. Juan Flavier for his condom advocacy and the good senator landed in No. 2. But on second thought, had they not campaigned against him, he might have been No. 1 hahaha.

    But I read also that a certain bishop in the Visayas had launched a serious campaign against pro-RH politicians. This is going to be very interesting – the Damasos fighting among themselves as how to salvage the situation after they lost in the RH war.

    As far as I am concerned, let them bring it on and let’s see what happens during the elections. I would rather believe in the surveys that 70 percent of Catholics approve of the RH Bill.

  • brunogiordano

    “The Catholic Church will not impose their influence on the electorate.”


    A very sensible pronouncement.

    Sana iyong mga BISHOPS na nais pa rin makipagaway ay sumunod sa sinabing ito ni PALMA.


    • boldyak

      never naman iniimpose, i am a catholic and nobody imposes his will on me…di katulad ng iba, iniimpose ang ikapo, otherwise itiwalag ka…priest only remind us to vote people who have MORAL values…they don’t and never have imposed…hay naku…makasira lang ng katoliko kahit baligtarin ang katotohanan…

  • Edgardo Mendoza


  • Olibo

    A play-safe homily. He realizes they have no influence like  El Shaddai or INK. 

  • AllinLawisFair

    Sooner or later these men of the cloth will finally admit that they do not hold sway over the will of the people. 

    Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma may just be one of the realists among the so-called shepherds who know that they may lose the flock whom they have always wanted to follow their path if they insist to force their will into the people’s mind and hearts.

    They cannot wait for centuries to pass before they finally accept the realities of the times like they waited for almost 400 years before they  admitted the wisdom of Galileo that it is the earth that revolves around the sun and not the other way around.

    The modern Church should be abreast with the times and not allow itself to be left far behind.

  • Kiam

    “The Catholic Church will not impose their influence on the electorate.” Ganun? E di ba sabi nyo samin hindi namin iboboto ang mga Pro-RH legislators? Ano ba talaga ‘dre? 

  • otepau68

    Now this is a church leader I can appreciate basing on what he say. Sadly though being a lone voice in the widerness. Although a rarity he can be a Pied Piper. 

  • ztefertilizerscam10

    Priest who had sex with boys now tells how to smuggle ivory

    National Geographic‘s new issue exposes the ivory business, which has been hiding in plain sight since a worldwide trade ban was enacted in 1989. And a major player in the magazine’s story is a priest in the Philippines whom I wrote about in 2005 when investigating another global-trafficking phenomenon — the Catholic Church’s movement of sexual abuse suspects across international borders to escape justice.

    The priest, Monsignor Cristobal Garcia, is now quoted as explaining how to smuggle ivory into the United States: “Wrap it in old, stinky underwear and pour ketchup on it.” And if an icon won’t fit in a suitcase? Here’s how National Geographic‘s Bryan Christy summarizes Garcia’s advice: “I might get a certificate from the National Museum of the Philippines declaring my image to be antique, or I could get a carver to issue a paper declaring it to be imitation or alter the carving date to before the ivory ban.”

    Garcia also made provocative comments when I interviewed him about why he fled the U.S. in 1985. He admitted having sex with altar boys and supplying them with drugs

    • Daniel Nielsen

      in the last couple of months 2 priests from the philippines and 1 from mexico have been arrested and been charged with rape and stealing church funds also 3 americans were also arrested.when the ivory priest admitted he raped boys people were writting in saying what a good man he was. all i could think of was the public outcry when the u.s. marine was supposed to rape a woman.  the embassy was attacked and the flag was burned and it was in the papers for months. i guess raping children in america is ok

  • ztefertilizerscam10

    The Bank Investments Of Different Dioceses

    Diocese / Church Foundation Company # Shares Owned Rank in Top 100 Total Investment Value

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 222,843,681 4th PHP12.724 Billion

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (REAL CASA DE MISERICORDIA) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 41,408,841 8th PHP2.364 Billion

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA (HOSPITAL DE SAN JUAN DE DIOS) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 22,072,182 13th PHP1.26 Billion

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (HOSPICIO DE SAN JOSE) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 6,016,624 15th PHP343.55 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (HOSP DE SA JUAN DE DIOS) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 4,285,572 17th PHP244.71 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (MAYORDOMIA DELA CATEDRAL) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 2,664,266 21st PHP152.13 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (ST. PAUL`S HOSPITAL) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 1,772,418 26th PHP101.21 Million

    CARMEL OF THE DIVINE INFANT JESUS OF PRAGUE, INC. Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 726,819 49th PHP41.50 Million

    EL SUPERIOR DE LA CORPORACION FILIPINA DE PADRES AGUSTINOS RECOLETOS Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 551,382 60th PHP31.48 Million
    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF JARO Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 491,385 64th PHP28.06 Million



    CARMEL OF THE DIVINE INFANT JESUS OF PRAGUE, INC. San Miguel Corp (SMC) 957,516 79th PHP105.33 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TUGUEGARAO San Miguel Corp (SMC) 856,639 81st PHP94.23 Million


    CARMEL OF ST THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS San Miguel Corp (SMC) 592,956 91st PHP65.23 Million

    THE DISCALCED CARMELITE NUNS OF CEBU San Miguel Corp (SMC) 451,864 95th PHP49.71 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NUEVA SEGOVIA DE VIGAN San Miguel Corp (SMC) 428,067 98th PHP47.09 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA Philex Mining Corp (PX) 3,221,135 15th PHP66.68 Million

    RELIGIOUS OF THE VIRGIN MARY – B Philex Mining Corp (PX) 3,125,777 16th PHP64.70 Million

    RELIGIOUS OF THE VIRGIN MARY-A Philex Mining Corp (PX) 1,091,027 69th PHP22.58 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TUGUEGARAO Ayala Corporation (AC) 24,015 73rd PHP9.29 Million

    KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FRATERNAL ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILS, INC. Ayala Corporation Preferred Shares – A (ACPA) 60,000 2nd PHP31.80 Million

    ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TAGBILARAN Ayala Corporation Preferred Shares – B (ACPR) 10,000 64th PHP1.02 Million



    • Balahura

      ang yaman ito na yata ang binabanggit sa bibliya sa revelation na dadambungin ng gobyerno….

      • boldyak

        mas mayaman si manalo, si bro ed…haha…pera nyo ginagastos sa pag-aaral ng mga anak nya…catholic church have money galing sa contribution ng mha katoliko ano problema nyo, ang abuloy nyo na 10% alam ba niniyo kung saan?…hahaha…marunong kayo pumuna pero ang gawain nyo hindi nyo pinupuna…haysss

    • cute79

      kaya wag na magbigay ng abuloy.ibili nyo nlng ng pagkain para sa pamilya nyo masaya pa busog pa lahat.

    • where_I_stand

      What these figures tell us?

      These are institutions with legitimate services to the people like hospitals, charity houses, schools, and many others.

      Religious congregations’ investments, like the share of the Augustinians in San Miguel Corporation, are legitimate business investment with above the board shares, bulk of these shares can be classified as royalty or patent shares. How about the St. Lukes Hospital equipped with state of the arts technology and manned by highly specialized doctors and medical professionals? How about ADMU, LSU, and UST, among others, which offer quality education with competent professors? These are also Catholic institutions which have millions of deposit and/or investment. Do you know where the money come from? Do you know the missionary and pastoral ministries of these institutions? Since these institutions are existing in decades now, common sense dictates that the growth of their investments are in millions. What make these institutions corrupt?

      Other religious congregations, managing hospitals and charity houses, received more donation from European Catholics who faithfully share their income for mission work.

      Do you understand the term?

      • Daniel Nielsen

        theres no european catholics except a few old ladies whoops i forgot the vatican. it is the only catholic country left that has money. i know people who went to these hospials and died because they didnt have 500 pisos

  • ztefertilizerscam10

    The Catholic sex abuse cases are a series of convictions, trials and investigations into allegations of child sexual abuse crimes committed by Catholic priests and members of Roman Catholic orders against children as young as 3 years old with the majority between the ages of 11 and 14

    • Daniel Nielsen

      there  was one 6 months old in america

    • boldyak

      a sex abuse of a priest is not a catholic abuse…grabe naman kayo…ang abuse ba ng pastor nyo abuse din ng congregation nyo…akala mo kung magsalita kayo mga pastor nyo napakalinis…sussss…

      • Daniel Nielsen

        if its not cathoic abuse why does the pope and the vatican lie and protect those preverts.this pope and the last pope admitted and gee in sorry. this pope when he was the head of the immorals committee protected hundreds of priests and moved them so they could do their raping somewhere. protecting is called aiding and abetting

      • Daniel Nielsen

        sorry made a couple of typing mistakes

      • panhase

        And what about the cover up of this institution called the catholic church?

  • ztefertilizerscam10

    GlorIa bribed to Mitsubishop and Safari
     Butuan City Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, who received a Mitsubishi Montero, Bontoc-Lagawe Bishop Rodolfo Beltran (Nissan Pathfinder), Abra Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian (Mitsubishi Strada), Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo (Toyota Grandia Hi-Ace), Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad (Mitsubishi Strada), Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo Valles (Toyota Grandia Hi-Ace); and Nueva Segovia Archbishop Ernesto Salgado (Isuzu Crosswind).

    • cute79

      May pari sa lugar namin di nakontento sa abuloy sa mga tao sa simbahan.Bawat pamilya na katoliko ay obligado magbigay ng Love Offering daw buwan-buwan.kung di ka makompleto ng bayad every month di ka pwde makapabinyag ng anak mo at pakasal or makakuha man lang ng baptismal cert.Di nya naisip na ang mga taong pinaobliga nyang magbigay ng Love ofering na twagin nya ay karamihan mahihirap ,minsan di nga makakain ng 3beses isang araw.Di rin naman lahat ng pari sa amin ganun ,yong isang pari lng talaga .

  • Hey_Dudes

    This monsignor’s  statement about them not wanting to impose  their influence over the electorate is so sad you can cry a river while laughing.  I bet they are starting to feel the pulse of their flocks and sensed they will never succeed imposing their influence even if they try as might.  They are beginning to realize their influence over the vast majority of Catholics have significantly waned – hence the face saving statement.  It’s OK bishop like the saying – win some looses many. More of the latter than the first for CBCP.

    • where_I_stand

      You misread him. You misunderstand the statements of Archbishop Palma, which is most likely indicative of the official stand of the CBCP on the Catholic vote.

      There is a Catholic vote. But it must come from the lay people themselves, and not dictated by the bishops. This is consistent with the stand of the CBCP through the years. This has nothing to do with the Constitutional provision on the separation of Church and State. This is based on the internal rules of the Church. However, this prohibition of the ordained ministers, bishops and priests, to get involved in partisan politics is not absolute. It means that the bishops can actually take a radical step by initiating the Catholic vote, but the CBCP opted for critical collaboration with the State. Thus, we have a conservative stand of the CBCP on the Catholic vote.

      Does it mean that the bishops totally dissociate themselves from this on-going organization and education for a Catholic vote initiated by Church-based organizations? I think they must be involved in the process, in whatever means they can be of help as pastors.

  • Pert Cabatana

    I see a flip-flop in Archbishop Palma’s position re: the PCOS. In a previous news item, he says the CBCP advocates the detailed review of the PCOS source codes. But now he is saying that there is nothing wrong with the PCOS machines, and that the source of problems are the people running them. From a technical standpoint this is the correct way of approaching the concern about the integrity of the electoral process.

  • $37644997

    Santo Nino- is not the Almighty God.To all CBCP and cohorts just remain idle in politics.

  • Balahura

    Stay Away from Politics !!!!

  • Hein S

    Not even Pope Benedict can tell me how to vote.

    • where_I_stand

      “Woe to you hypocrites.”
      Jesus’ strong condemnation of the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.

      I didn’t know that you are a believer.
      Of course, atheists do not listen to the pope.

  • JosengSisiw1

    Now CBCP realized that they are not as influential anymore as they think they are. They should have known earlier that today’s Catholics are not the same Indios of Spanish era that will submit to whatever the church will tell them to do and what to believe at.
    CBCP should stop using God’s word for their convinience and they should stop acting as if they are the only ones who understand and can interpret well the lines in the Bible.

  • virgoyap

    I know that many bishops will prefer to vote for a corrupt and unscrupulous anti RH candidates than to the pro RH candidates who are sincere, honest and are committed to their works. True or false?

  • panhase

    Bishop Palma “deemed it prudent to let the people choose their own candidates”.
    What? He deemed it prudent?
    It is the right of the people, no matter what he deemed or what not.

  • Eric

    Perhaps it’s time to furnish Catholics with a list. If we leave it to the people’s discernment and conscience, we leave it to the same people who elected ERap ( almost twice ) as president, the same people who almost elected FPJ, and the entire families of trapos, corrupt and incompetents to Congress.

    Perhaps it’s time to stop talking in riddles. De número! Istep by istep!….so that you will not only be understood but you will be impossible to misunderstand.

  • Edgardo Mendoza


  • disqusted0fu

    Conscience voting is the same advice that Pnoy told the solons in voting for the RH bill. Sadly, money talks louder than their conscience which led to the passing of the bill. Hopefully the same would not happen in our elections because we might end up also voting on the wrong people.

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