LUCENA CITY — With the start of the official election period for local candidates, Quezon Bishop Emilio Marquez on Sunday urged the faithful not to sell their votes and defend their Catholic faith.
“Don’t ever sell your votes in exchange for cash, rice and other favors from politicians. What you’re selling is your dignity and self-respect. And that is wrong,” Marquez said in his homily during the Easter Sunday Mass at the Saint Ferdinand Cathedral here.
Local candidates nationwide have started campaigning on Black Saturday following the official start of the 45-day campaign period.
Marquez reminded churchgoers that the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday was meant to strengthen the foundation of the faith of all Catholics.
“You’re all Catholics. It’s your duty and obligation to defend your faith,” the prelate said.
He urged the faithful to be strong. “Do not be tempted with money from politicians which you will regret afterwards,” he added.
Marquez disclosed that in the 2010 election, he was disappointed when he learned that some of his lay ministers, which he did not identify, were involved in the distribution of money to buy votes. This, he said, should never be repeated in the coming May election.
At least two lay ministers at the Cathedral ran in the 2010 elections.
The bishop said he received severe criticism when he allowed the posting of “Team Buhay” and “Team Patay” tarpaulins on the wall of the cathedral and 36 other churches in central parts of the province under the supervision of the Diocese of Lucena.
Marquez reiterated the tarpaulin message was not meant to be a form of campaigning against any candidate but was just enlightening the faithful that the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) law must be repealed because it is an “insult” to God and to the Catholic doctrine.
“It’s your vote. The final decision is all yours,” the bishop told churchgoers.
Seven senatorial candidates were tagged by the diocese as members of “Team Patay” for supporting the RH law. They were Team PNoy candidates—Senators Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda and Alan Peter Cayetano, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara and former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros; Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile (United Nationalist Alliance) and Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño (independent).
Leftist partylist groups Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Akbayan and Anak Pawis are also on the “Team Patay” list.
Senatorial candidates listed under “Team Buhay” for opposing the RH law were Sen. Gregorio Honasan, Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada and Mitos Magsaysay, all with UNA; and Parañaque Rep. Cynthia Villar and Sen. Koko Pimentel, both with Team PNoy.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who also voted against the RH law, was not included in the “Team Buhay” list.