GUAGUA, Pampanga—Banjo Serrano and 42 Catholic lay leaders here gathered in the parish church on Friday for what they called “circles of discernment.”
Whom to vote for in the May 13 elections was the main question they settled using a “laser test” based on the guidelines given by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
“The uniqueness of this is that we are standing up for temporal issue. We are on our own,” Serrano, convenor of Lebadura, Asin, Ilaw para sa Kinabukasan Ko (Laikko), said on Tuesday.
“We are [selecting and endorsing candidates] outside the [organizational] structures of our parishes and without our priests,” he said. “We are taking the responsibility of choosing our candidates. Pope Francis said evangelization must be shouldered by laypersons.”
Laikko leaders and members have been campaigning and are voting for the candidates they have endorsed. They are Rizalito David, John Carlos de los Reyes, Marwil Llasos, Christian Señeres and the partylist groups Ang Pro-Life and Pacyaw.
In Pangasinan, the party-list group Abono has endorsed six administration senatorial candidates and four candidates from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) for their support for farmers and their fight against smuggling of agricultural products.
From the administration Team PNoy, Abono endorsed reelectionist Senators Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano and Aquilino Pimentel III; and Cynthia Villar and Grace Poe.
From UNA, the group endorsed Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile, San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito, former Sen. Richard Gordon and Nancy Binay.
Abono said it was up to their local chapters to decide on the last two candidates they would support. Local chapters, an Abono official said, may choose from Teodoro Casiño, Edward Hagedorn, Ramon Magsaysay Jr., and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara to complete the slate.
In Pampanga, local chapters of Singles for Christ, Couples for Christ and other lay groups have been assessing the conduct and capabilities of senatorial and local candidates, Serrano said.
The laser test is a set of questions, written in Kapampangan, with a corresponding 100 points on a candidate’s lifestyle (20 points), action (25 points), supporters (15 points), election conduct (20 points) and reputation (20 points).
Selection of local candidates is ongoing and the passing rate for them should be at least 87, Serrano said.
Among Laikko’s actions to “show solidarity” for their chosen candidates are tying a red ribbon in vehicles or houses and reciting the prayer for peaceful elections.
Serrano said Laikko targets a minimum of 2,000 votes per parish for the group’s national candidates.
Pampanga, with a population of 1.911 million, has 1.2 million registered voters. With a report from Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon