CBCP: Elect those truly upright
Do not allow yourselves to be instrument of fraud. Do not sell your votes. Do not vote for the “lesser evil.”
These were among the reminders the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) gave on Wednesday to Filipino voters when they elect their leaders in the coming May polls.
In a pastoral statement, the CBCP, led by its president, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, said it was necessary for Filipinos to decide whether they want leaders who just give out cash or those real sincere to help the people.
“Let all of us be guided by a sense of the common good when we elect leaders for those for whom Christ died. Let us choose those who are truly upright and self-sacrificing, respectful of the dignity of all and compassionate toward the poor,” Villegas said.
“Let us reject those who are dishonest, deceitful, self-seeking and unmindful of the poor,” he added.
The CBCP also urged the people not to settle for “lesser evils,” saying that it would be better to leave ballots blank instead of choosing people who do not deserve to be elected.
“Not voting for a particular position when there is no one fitted for it is also a valid Christian political choice. Voting for the ‘lesser evil’ is still voting for evil,” Villegas said.
Villegas also said that candidates who bulldoze their way to public posts through vote buying are “selfish, destructive and sinful.”
He said those who engage in such practices should first repent and confess their sins before approaching Holy Communion.
“We remind those who win positions by such fraudulent means that they have in fact no moral right to assume the offices they stole,” he said.
The prelates lamented that the country’s elections often show practices that contradict “the way Jesus whom we celebrate and receive in the Eucharist [leads].”
“Most certainly our faith in the Eucharist is incompatible with the use of violence, vote-buying and cheating during the election period,” said Villegas, as he reminded voters that selling one’s vote is a cooperation in a sinful practice.
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