Independent bishops back 12 HNP, opposition candidates for senator
MANILA, Philippines — The Independent Bishops Conference of the Philippines (IBCP) has endorsed 12 senatorial candidates for the upcoming midterm polls in May 2019.
IBCP announced on Wednesday they would support the senatorial bid of former special assistant to the president Christopher “Bong” Go, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, former police general Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, reelectionist senators JV Ejercito, Nancy Binay, Cynthia Villar and Koko Pimentel, former senators Bong Revilla and Pia Cayetano, opposition candidates Senator Bam Aquino and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, and former Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino.
Ten of the 12 candidates belong to the administration-backed Hugpong ng Pagbabago, while the other two – Aquino and Roxas – belong to Otso Diretso.
Explaining the reason for endorsing two candidates from the opposition, IBCP president Bishop Efraim Perez said it was for their track record.
“Ang naging basehan ng mga obispo doon sa dalawa, hindi dahil sila’y kaibigan o malapit sa akin. Alam natin ang kanilang track record,” Perez said during IBCP’s endorsement rally at Club Filipino.
“Mar Roxas is one of the best senators ever in history of Philippine Senate. Next, Bam Aquino, hindi lang siya mahusay, magaling, bata,” he added.
On the other hand, Perez explained they were supporting Go and Dela Rosa’s senatorial bid because of their support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership.
“As you can see in our criteria of choosing 12 senators, we look for someone who will help President’s visions for our country and we are boldly announcing that we are supporting President Duterte’s leadership,” Perez said.
Perez said the controversial video of Bikoy linking Go to the supposed illegal drug activities in the country also did not affect the bishops’ decision in supporting his bid.
“From the start, hindi po ako naniniwala kay Bikoy, honestly. At ang mga obispo po, hindi po kami naniniwala. Alam natin sa panahon ngayon, lalo sa panahon ngayon, ang kasinungalingan ay mas mabilis kumalat,” Perez said.
Tolentino, the sole candidate who attended the endorsement rally, thanked the IBCP for supporting his senatorial bid.
“With the support of different religious organizations, nagpapasalamat po tayo sa kanila, lalong-lalo na doon sa malalaking grupo. Ito, patapos na, pero patuloy ang suporta kay Francis Tolentino. Salamat po sa inyo,” Tolentino said.
IBCP is composed of 187 bishops of various Christian groups nationwide.
Apart from Perez, other bishops who attended the endorsement rally were Bishop Jose Lombos, Bishop Rhenee Gomez, Bishop Nelson Go, Bishops Eusebio Laserna, Bishop Romulo Salcedo and Bishop Romeo Ancheta. /cbb
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