MANILA, Philippines—Is there such a thing as Catholic vote?
Ang Kapatiran Party’s senatorial bet John Carlos “JC” De Los Reyes believes there is and he’s banking on it to make him win a place in the Senate.
But De Los Reyes was quick to clarify that by “Catholic vote” he was not referring to the bishops or priests and other religious.
“When I say Catholic vote, that means we’re banking on the laity, the people that comprises the 99.9 percent of the Catholic church,” he told Inquirer in a phone interview.
“When I say Catholic vote, that would mean the mobilization of the lay people… they have to move because unlike traditional politicians, we don’t have bailiwicks,” he added.
Asked if he was hoping for the endorsement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, De los Reyes said “No, never.”
“Pero ang labo naman that the CBCP would urge the lay faithful to participate actively and lead in the renewing of politics, tapos hanggang doon na lang iyon,” he said, stressing that the Ang Kapatiran Party’s Church-based platform was a response to the Catholic clergy’s call to reform politics.
In a previous interview, Kapatiran founding chair and gun control campaigner Nandy Pacheco said the party will not actively seek support from church groups or church leaders in the coming elections.
“We will welcome endorsements. But we will no longer actively seek their support anymore. The Catholic Church, for instance, has guidelines on engagement in politics and through their pastoral encouragement they can tell the people whom to support,” he said.
In the 2010 elections, Kapatiran obtained the endorsement of several Catholic bishops and even leaders of lay groups and other churches.
De los Reyes said Kapatiran’s platform and issues—the prohibition of political dynasties, abolition of the pork barrel system, legislated gun control, passage of the freedom of information bill, opposition to the reproductive health bill—have not changed.
Asked if the party had a new campaign strategy, he said the were basically picking up from where they left off in 2010.
“Hindi naman namin kaya yung ginagawa ng ibang partido na sumasayaw, iyong entertainment lang,” he said.
“We’re campaigning to let the people know we’re running for Senate…. Right now we’re accepting invitations of those who believe in our principles and advocacy,” De los Reyes said.
He said he was not giving up his fight for change. “Why give up, other missionaries even go to the mountains, some even get killed.… It’s a mission, an advocacy.”