MANILA, Philippines – Senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño asked leaders of the Catholic Church on Tuesday not to reduce the coming elections into a battle between supporters and opponents of the reproductive health law.
In a statement, Casiño said that while one’s stand on the RH law was important, candidates “should also be measured on other equally compelling issues that face the nation.”
“I hope the Church does not narrow the criteria in voting for a senator. If they are to be followed, even corrupt and abusive candidates will be voted into office by Catholics only because they are anti-RH. Is that what they want?” said the three-term representative of the Bayan Muna partylist.
Casiño decried the tagging by Catholic leaders of six senatorial candidates, including himself, as “Team Patay,” suggesting they were anti-life for voting in favor of the RH law. The others on the list are Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Jack Enrile and Risa Hontiveros.
The candidate urged the Church to “teach the faithful to be more discerning” in setting standards for legislators.
“Why choose a candidate on the basis of [opposition to the] RH law when a senator has a lot of other things to do in the Senate?” Casiño said.
Using himself as an example, Casiño said that like the Church hierarchy, he was “anti-dynasty, pro-environment, anti-corruption, pro-human rights and pro-agrarian reform.”
“Will the Church set aside my track record because of my vote for one law? If you think about it, the issues I fight for are similar to those fought for by the Church,” said Casiño, a Catholic whose brother is a priest.