THE head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on the faithful to be very careful in choosing their candidates to ensure that the next leaders of the country are truly excellent role models for the youth.
CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas on Friday said more than intelligence and competence, what the country needs today are “God-fearing” leaders.
“The great need of our time is leadership with vision. We need inspired and inspiring leaders who can rally the nation beyond the horizon of our dreams,” Villegas noted in a pastoral letter.
“While intelligence and competence are essential for national leaders, we need to be reminded of our mistakes in the past when we elected intelligent leaders who later on became thieves of government coffers, murderers of the opposition and billionaires from public funds,” he pointed out.
Peachy Yamsuan, head of the Office of Communications of the Archdiocese of Manila, clarified that Villegas released the pastoral statement as Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, not as CBCP president.
Villegas, she said, will read his pastoral letter part by part beginning this week.
The prelate urged voters to choose based on the Ten Commandments, not who is topping or trailing in surveys.
“You are called to be authentic Catholic voters who decide from prayer and conscience.
You are called to take courage and make moral decisions. Your vote can make heaven come down and make our country beautiful and good as God desires it,” he said. “Be free from the tyranny and pressure of trends and herds. Do it right!”
Villegas also called on the faithful to reject atheists.
“The Catholic voter cannot and should not lend his support to any candidate whose ideology binds him or her to make of the Philippines a secular state that has no tolerance for religion in its public life,” he said.
At the same time, Villegas urged Catholics to support worthy candidates from other religious denominations.
Candidates with a history of violating their oaths, as well as candidates whose kin are also seeking the same position to perpetuate themselves in power, should not be elected, he said.
Also, voters should also reject bets who abet the killing of people.
“Included in sins against the Fifth Commandment are “mutilation, physical and mental torture, undue psychological pressures.” Has this candidate been involved in these acts which are ways of authoritarian regimes?” Vilegas added.
Thieves and liars also have no place in government, he said.
“Has this candidate stolen public money and remained obstinate and stubborn in making the required restitution of stolen goods? There are plenty of thieves from above. Has the candidate favored exorbitant interest rates being charged by banks and insurance firms?” Villegas added.