Catholic bishop calls for mock polls to get laity’s May polls preferencesBy Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — A Catholic prelate is pushing for a Church-based mock elections to get a picture of what kind of candidates the faithful will be voting for in the May 13 balloting.
Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto said on Sunday, the Church could organize its own version of mock elections in parishes and Catholic schools through its lay organizations a month before the midterm balloting
“That’s one way of raising the consciousness of the voters and at the same time providing maybe alternative candidates or alternative choice,” Aniceto told reporters in an interview.
He stressed that the Church hierarchy would not initiate such a process but rather its big network of lay organizations. “It should be conducted not by the Church per se but the lay organizations,” said the prelate.
During the 2010 presidential elections, the religious group El Shaddai conducted a mock election among its members. Former President Joseph Estrada topped the polling, followed by Sen. Manuel Villar and then Sen. Benigno Aquino III.
Aniceto said aside from parish churches, mock elections could also be held in Catholic schools where many students would be first-time voters in May. “This is for the students to be oriented on how to properly choose their candidates,” he noted.
Earlier, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that as a non-partisan institution, it would refrain from endorsing any candidate in the May 13 elections just as it did in the previous balloting.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, the CBCP president, has stated that for the upcoming elections, the Church hierarchy will continue to preach the doctrine of the Catholic Church to guide the faithful in discerning their vote.
“We are not in anyway partisan. We do not tell the whole world who to vote for or name the right person to vote. In principle, we just preach the doctrine of the church and tell the process of how to discern,” said Palma in an interview with reporters last week.