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CBCP Pastoral letter on the Elections

Category : Election News

The following is a Pastoral letter on the Philippine Elections.

My dear countrymen:

We address you as we get nearer the crossroads of our journey as citizens of this land and citizens of heaven. We bring to you a message of truth that may be painful but hopefully liberating. We offer you a hand to unite and our prayers to the Lord to heal our land and people divided by politics.

This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches about Church pronouncements on political issues: It is a part of the Church’s mission “to pass moral judgments even in matters related to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it. The means, the only means, she may use are those which are in accord with the Gospel and the welfare of all men according to the diversity of times and circumstances.” (CCC 2246)

Discerning our Choices

The nationally telecast debates as well as the publicized utterances and actuations of our candidates, particularly those who vie for the high office of President of the Republic, have given us all a glimpse of who they are, what they represent and the causes they champion – or reject.

There is a fundamental difference between right and wrong, and not everything is fair game in politics.  A choice for a candidate who takes positions that are not only politically precarious but worse, morally reprehensible, cannot and should not be made by the Catholic faithful and those who take their allegiance to Christ and his Kingship seriously.  One cannot proclaim Christ as King and at the same time accept the governance of one whose thoughts, speech and demeanor are diametrically opposed to the demands of submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The desire for change is understandable.  Our people have suffered from incompetence and indifference.  But this cannot take the form of supporting a candidate whose speech and actions, whose plans and projects show scant regard for the rights of all, who has openly declared indifference if not dislike and disregard for the Church specially her moral teachings.

The Catholic Church has never asked any political candidate to seek its endorsement, but the Catholic Church has always demanded of Catholic voters that they cast their votes as an act not only of citizenship but also as a public declaration of faith.  We ask this most earnestly of all of you, Catholic brothers and sisters, in the forthcoming election.

A Nation at Prayer

We commend the various initiatives of our Catholic laity and other youth associations to come together and pray for guidance in choosing the right leaders. In particular, we encourage you to pray the rosary every day and receive Holy Communion starting May 1 until May 9. In this novena of rosaries and Masses, we claim from the Lord the gift of a godly electoral process. With the permission of the bishops, the Blessed Sacrament may be exposed for public adoration to beg the Lord for the gift of peaceful elections.

To you our dear candidates, we plead.

In less than two weeks, the sovereign people will choose who should govern them.  It is this that makes us a free people.  We, your bishops of this country, therefore ask of you to allow each Filipino the free and untrammeled right to an informed choice.  This means, among other things, that you cannot deceive or mislead the people by proffering them falsehoods, much less defraud the nation.

The campaign period has been rancorous.  This is regrettable.  Many wounds have been inflicted.  This is true not only of candidates but also of their supporters.  Even close friends have parted ways because of differences in political persuasion and in the choice of candidates to support. As we advise our voters, so we also say to you dear candidates: Pray! Pray not only to win but pray that the Lord may show by His signs His chosen leader for this nation, this nation who calls on Him at the crossroads of its national life.

Time to Unite

When the elections shall have been concluded and winners proclaimed in accordance with law, we beg you all, in the name of Jesus Christ, to be instruments of peace, reconciliation and healing.  Let those who prevail rise in nobility above the hurtful words that may have been uttered by opponents, and draw them rather into a government of unity, but unity that firmly rests neither on expediency nor compromise, but on truth and justice.

We ask all who shall be sworn in to remember that when they take the oath that the law requires of them, they call on God as their witness — and even if they may not expressly do so, they swear in the sight of God’s People.  Every public official swears to uphold and to defend the Constitution and to do justice to every man and woman.  Not whim then, nor arbitrariness, not vendetta nor revenge, but the rights of God’s people enshrined in the Constitution and their demand for justice, unity, progress and peace to which every law must respond!

Whoever wins honestly, whoever takes the oath of his or her office seriously, whoever strives to heal the wounds of the divisiveness of politics, whoever respects the rights of all and is earnest in his or her fear of God and is zealous for his precepts has the support of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and we will do everything together with our priests so that all our people, to the remotest barangays to which we minister, may rally around a just and God-fearing government that visits no vengeance on foes but is characterized by mercy and compassion for all, not only for allies!

Prayer

I invoke the Blessed Mother to cover our nation with her maternal love and to beseech her Son to grant us all the favor of meaningful, peaceful elections and a government thereafter that unifies our people in the sight of God and in accordance with His will. Lord heal our land. Lord heal our land.

From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, May 1, 2016

 

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

 

(The Tagalog Version)
TAGAPAGPAHAYAG NG KATOTOHANAN,
LINGKOD NG PAGKAKAISA

Payo at Pakiusap ng Simbahang Katoliko

Mga minamahal kong kababayan,

Nais naming kayong makausap habang tayo ay papalapit sa mahalagang bahagi ng ating paglalakbay bilang mga mamamayan at mga Kristiyano.  Isang mensahe ng katotohanan ang dala namin sa inyo. Maaring ito ay makasakit subalit ito’y nakakapagpalaya.

Iniaabot namin ang aming kamay para makipagkaisa sa inyo, gayun din ang aming panalangin na paghilumin angating bansang winawasak ng pulitika.

Ito ang itinuturo ng katekismo ng Simbahang Katoliko ukol sa mga deklarasyon ng Simbahan sa mga isyung pulitikal: kabilang sa mga misyon ng Simbahan ang

“magsaad ng moral na palagay sa mga bagay na may kinalaman sa  pulitika kapag ito ay mahalaga sa mga pangunahing karapatan ng   tao o sa kaligtasan ngkaniyang kaluluwa. Ibig sabihin, ang tanging kasangkapan ng Simbahan ay iyong naayon sa ebanghelyo at sa   ikabubuti ng lahat ng tao ayon sa kalagayan ng panahon at ng mga  pangyayari.” ( CCC 2246 )

Maka-Diyos na Paraan ng Pagpili

Ang mga debateng ipinakita sa mga pambansang broadcast, pati na rin ang mga nalathalang pananalita at kilos ng ating mga kandidato, lalo na ang mga tumatakbo sa pagka Pangulo ng Pilipinas, ay nagbigay sa atin ng larawansa tunay nilang pagkatao, kung ano ang kanilang knakatawan, at kung ano ang kanilang mga paninindigan na itinataguyod o nilalabanan.

May malaking pagkakaiba ang tama at mali, at hindi ito nagbabago maging sa pulitika.

Ang mga Katolikong tapat sa paghahari ni Kristo ay hindi dapat pumili ng kandidato na may paninindigang ilalagay sa panganib ang ating bayan, at higit pa roon, ay wawasakin ang moralidad  nito.  Hindi natin maaring iproklama si Kristo bilang Hari kung kasabay nito ay tinatanggap natin ang  pamumuno ng isang tao na ang isip, pananalita at kilos ay taliwas sa pamumuno ni Hesukristo.

Nauunawaan namin ang inyong paghangad ng pagbabago.  Angating mga kababayan ay nagdurusa sa pagwawalang bahala ng mga namumuno at sa kawalan ng kakayahan sa pamamahala. Ngunit ang mga ito ay hindi dahilan para ibigay ang suporta sa kandidato na ang pananalita, kilos, plano at programa ay walang pagpapahalaga sa karapatan ng iba, at walang paggalang sa Simbahan at sa mga aral nito lalo na tungkol sa moralidad.

Ang Simbahang Katoliko ay hindi kailanman humiling sa mga kandidato na hingin ang endorso nito.  Ngunit lagi nitong pinapaalala sa mga Katolikong botante na ang pagboto ay hindi lamang obligasyon bilang mamamayan, ngunit higit pa, ito ay lantad na deklarasyon ng kanyang pag-ibig sa Diyos.  Ito ang aming apela sa inyo, mga kapatid na Katoliko, sa darating na eleksyon.

Isang Bansang Nananalangin

Pinararangalan namin ang mga laikong Katoliko at mg samahan ng kabataan sa kanilang mga gawain para tayo ay magkabuklod-buklod at manalangin para sa tamang gabay sa pagpili ng mga nararapat na pinuno.Hinihikayat namin kayo na magrosaryo araw-araw at tumanggap ng Komunyon mula ika-1 hanggang ika-9 ng Mayo.  Sa mga nobena at misang ito, hihingin natin sa Panginoon ang maka-Diyos na pamamalakad ng halalan. Sa pahintulot ng mga Obispo, ang Blessed Sacrament ay ilalabas sa publiko para hingin sa Diyos ang isang mapayapang halalan.

Sa mga mahal naming kandidato, kami ay nakikiusap.

Ilang araw na lang at pipili na ang sambayanan kung sino ang mamamahala sa kanila. Dahil ang halalan ay patunay ng ating pagiging malaya, kaming mga Obispo ay nagsusumamo na hayaan ninyong bumoto ang bawat Pilipino ayon sa kanyang konsyensya. Huwag po natin linlangin, lokohin o dayain ang bayan.

Ang panahon ng kampanyang ito ay naging puno ng alitan. Hindi lamang mga kandidato ang nag-away-away, pati na ang mga tagasuporta.  Maging mga magkakaibigan ay nagkasamaan ng loob dahil lamang sa diperensiya sa pulitika. Kaya habang kami ay nagpapayo sa mga botante, hinihiling din namin sa mga  iginagalang na kandidato: magdsal po kayo.

Magdasal po kayo hindi lamang para manalo, kundi para iparamdam ng Panginoon sa ating lahat kung sino ang kanyang pinipiling lider para sa kritikal na yugtong ito ng kasaysayan ng ating bayan.

Panahon Para Magkaisa

Pagkatapos ng eleksyon, kapag kayong mga nagwagi ay naproklama na alinsunod sa batas, hinihingi namin sa inyo, sa ngalan ni Hesukristo, na maging instrumento kayo ng  kapayapaan, paghihilom at pagkakabati.

Sana ang mga mananalo ay magpakumbaba at kalimutan na ang mga masasakit na pananalita ng mga naging katunggali, at sa halip ay akitin sila tungo sa pamahalaang nagkakaisa, batay sa katotohanan at katarungan, at hindi sa sariling interes at pamumulitika lamang.

Pinapaalalahanan namin ang lahat ng magwawagi sa eleksiyon na sa kanilang panunumpa, sang-ayon sa batas, sila ay tatawag sa Panginoon bilang kanilang saksi, at kahit hindi nila sabihin, sila ay manunumpa sa  harap ng mga taong anak ng Diyos.  Lahat ng opisyal pampubliko ay manunumpa na ipagtatanggol ang ating Saligang Batas at mabibigyan ng katarungan ang bawat mamamayan.

Sagayon, ang mga karapatan ng mga anak ng Diyos na nakasulat sa Saligang Batas, at ang pangangailangan ng katarungan, pagkakaisa, kaunlaran, at kapayapaan ang magiging sandigan ng mga batas na ipagtitibay, hindi ano pa mang pansariling katwiran, sumpong o paghihiganti.

Kung sino man ang magwawagi sa malinis na paraan, kung sino man ang siryosong manunumpa sa kanyang katungkulan, kung sino man ang magbubuklod-buklod ng bayan mula sa pagkakahiwalay sanhi ng pulitika, kung sino man ang rerespeto sa karapatan ng lahat, na tunay na may takot sa Diyos at masigasig na susunod sa kanyang mga aral, ay makakatanggap ng suporta at tulong mula sa Catholic BishopsConference of the Philippines. Gagawin namin ang lahat, kasama ang mga kaparian hanggang sa mga pinakamalayong barangay na aming pinaglilingkuran, para sa isang gobyernong may takot sa Diyos, hindi nag-iisip ng paghihiganti, bagkus ay pinaghaharian ng pagpapatawad at malasakit sa lahat.

Panalangin

Tumatawag ako sa Mahal na Ina na ilukob ang ating bansa sa ilalim ng kaniyang pagmamahal, at hilingin sa kaniyang Anak na bigyan tayo ng isang makahulugan at mapayapang halalan, at isang pamahalaan na magbibigkis sa mamamayan sa harap ng Panginoon at sang-ayon sa Kanyang kalooban.

Panginoon, paghilumin mo ang aming bayan. Panginoon, paghilumin mo ang aming bayan.

Mula sa Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, May 1, 2016

+Socrates B. Villegas
Archbishop of Lingayen, Dagupan
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Phils.


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People’s Choice releases its List of Candidates

Category : Election News

The People’s Choice Movement announced last April 1 the results of the People’s Primary which the group conducted among the members of various Christian faith-based organizations from the Catholic, Evangelical and Protestant communities.

 

The winner in the People’s Primary for Vice-President was Leni Robredo, while the top ten (10) senatorial candidates are Rafael Alunan, Neri Colmenares, Leila de Lima, Richard Gordon, Teofisto Guingona III, Susan Ople, Serge Osmena, Francis Pangilinan, Roman Romulo, and Joel Villanueva.

 

The group decided to endorse only 10 senatorial candidates to give their members nationwide, as well as the voters in general, two (2) vacant spots for their personal preferences.

 

The winners in the People’s Primary were chosen by a voting process by the group’s members from the original Shortlist of Gabaykristo candidates, which lined up Grace Poe and Mar Roxas for president, Leni Robredo and Jesus Paredes for Vice-President, and 15 senatorial candidates.

 

“The People’s Choice List of 10 senatorial candidates is a good mix of veteran lawmakers and new names in senatorial elections”, says Ricky Xavier, Spokesperson of the People’s Choice. “Of the 10, only 2 are reelectionist senators (Guingona and Osmena), another 2 are returning senators (Gordon and Pangilinan), while six are new in the senatorial race, although Susan Ople and Roman Romulo are children of former senators. Alunan, De Lima and Villanueva have held cabinet positions while Colmenares has served as partylist representative for the last 9 years”, added Xavier.

 

“Also, the movement also decided not to submit to People’s Primary voting the names of Grace Poe-Llamanzares and Mar Roxas for president, because of legal issues involving one of them which the group believed will not be resolved with finality by the end of March 2016”, said Atty Epifanio Cua, Chairman of the People’s Choice Movement. Poe and Roxas were the top two presidential candidates who qualified the most in the group’s Gabaykristo criteria for president.

 

People’s Choice Movement & PMTL

 

The PEOPLE’S CHOICE Movement is composed of volunteers nationwide, mostly leaders and members from various Christian faith-based organizations that founded and comprise the Pilipino Movement for Transformational Leadership (PMTL).

 

The PMTL, on the other hand, is a national coalition of leaders and representatives of various Christian faith-based organizations from the Catholic, Evangelical and Protestant communities in the country. The PMTL was formed essentially to encourage the Christian faithful to participate in doing God’s work in the political field, by providing a mechanism that would enable their combined memberships and our people to select and elect honest, competent, dedicated and God-centered servant leaders for our country.

 

People’s Primary Process

 

The mechanism that PMTL adopted has two (2) components – the GabayKristo and the Shortlisting of Gabaykristo Candidates. The GabayKristo is the common criteria and voter’s guide that the PMTL member organizations have decided to use for their memberships. It is a set of 20 specific questions that evaluate the candidates in four (4) areas – Character, Competence, Integrity in Leadership & Public Service, and Faithfulness to God, Country & People. It has a grading system that allows voters to rate a candidate from 1 up to 5, 1 being the lowest grade and 5 the highest. The candidate who garners the highest score is the most deserving to be voted on.

 

“The adoption of GabayKristo as a common voters’ guide is historic. This is the first time in our nation’s history that the big faith-based organizations from the Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical communities have decided to adopt and use only one voters’ guide for all our memberships nationwide”, says Bishop Reuben Abante, a PMTL Co-Chairman and leader of the BibleMode, an evangelical network with more than 6,000 affiliate local churches nationwide.

 

The second component of PMTL’s mechanism is the Shortlisting of Gabaykristo Candidates, a qualifying process where those PMTL member organizations which are allowed by their charters and are willing to participate, may recommend 2 persons for President, 2 for VP, and 15 for Senators, but must use the GabayKristo as the criteria. All the recommendees from various organizations are submitted to the Nomination Committee, which rank and rate the recommendees. The top 2 for President, top 2 for VP, and top 15 for Senators will form and become the Shortlist of Gabaykristo Candidates of PMTL.

 

The Shortlist of Gabaykristo candidates was then forwarded by PMTL to the People’s Choice Movement, an entity that is separate and independent from PMTL. Then, the People’s Choice Movement conducted a People’s Primary, a process where the officers and members of the groups and organizations comprising the PMTL voted or selected the candidates they prefer from the PMTL Shortlist. Participation in the voting process was purely voluntary and personal.

 

In summary, the People’s Primary is a system on inclusive democracy where the people, through their organizations, recommend and select the most GabayKristo-qualified leaders to run for president, vice-president and senator. In future elections, the People’s Primary will include candidates for representative and local positions in the country.

 

 

Difference between PMTL & People’s Choice

 

PMTL cannot and will not endorse or support any candidates, because many of its convenor and member organizations are churches and faith-based groups whose charters prevent them from endorsing and supporting any candidate.

 

Thus, the People’s Choice will do what PMTL cannot do, which is to endorse and support candidates based on their common criteria, the GABAYKRISTO.

 

Membership in the PMTL is by organizations, while in People’s Choice is individual and purely voluntary. The members shall not bring into People’s Choice their membership or affiliation in their respective churches or organizations.

 

People’s Choice will encourage all the combined memberships of PMTL member organizations to vote for the People’s Choice Candidates.

 

But both PMTL and People’s Choice are bound by one common desire – to help in electing honest, competent, dedicated, strong-willed, servant leaders who can lead our country towards national transformation in accordance with God’s plan.

 

It is the People’s Choice Movement, as a group, which shall endorse and provide campaign support mechanism nationwide to all People’s Primary winners.

 

Reform Agenda

 

All People’s Choice’s Candidates will be required to sign a COVENANT that obligates them to implement the REFORM AGENDA if and when they get elected into office. The REFORM AGENDA was formulated by the PMTL Convenors and is composed of specific items of reform.

 

The Reform Agenda was drawn from a 10-page document that contains a broad array of reform issues covering food security, job creation, governance, regulation, decentralization, agrarian reform, mass transport/ housing, indigenous peoples’ rights, education and the environment. They are among the broad topics that the group believes need to be addressed to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development in the country. These reform areas have been prioritized and segregated into four (4) main categories, each category containing specific reform or action item.

 

The Reform Agenda includes the passage of an Anti-Political Dynasty Law, the Freedom of Information (FOI) Law, and the Anti-Monopolistic and Anti-Oligarchic measures.

 

Those candidates who will not sign the Covenant will not be included in the People’s Choice Candidates list.

 

For the complete list of the Reform Agenda, visit www.peopleschoice.com.ph

 

“The Covenant Signing is very important for us in the PMTL and People’s Choice”, says Ricky Xavier. If a candidate will not sign the Covenant, then there is no compelling bond that the candidate would implement our Reform Agenda”.

 

Campaign Plans

 

As a national movement, People’s Choice will organize a national campaign team and machinery to support the People’s Choice candidates in their campaign.

 

The People’s Choice is not a political party but merely a campaign support movement. The candidates may run under any existing political party of their choice.

 

The group’s plan is to establish a National Campaign Support Mechanism with the following areas – -a) a national machinery composed of volunteers from our member organizations nationwide, as well as volunteers from the public; b) media campaign, including social media and text brigade among our members; c) postering, as we will encourage our members and volunteers in the provinces to print their own posters for our candidates; and d) celebrity endorsers, as we plan to tap on some patriotic and well-meaning celebrities to help us in campaigning for our gabaykristo candidates.

 

But the group’s central focus of the campaign will be the promotion of the Gabaykristo as a voters’ guide, as well as the idea of People’s Primary, a system for inclusive democracy where the people themselves will be the ones to nominate and select who they want to run for national and local positions in the country.

 

Radio Veritas, a Catholic media channel, is already airing for free the GabayKristo as a voter’s guide up to election day. Radio DZAS and FEBC (Far East Broadcasting Corporation), the primary media arm of the evangelical and protestant churches and organizations in the country, are also already running 5 different versions of GabayKristo info spots daily.

 

Many non-faith based groups and organizations have also expressed interest in the PMTL’s GabayKristo and the People’s Primary as PMTL is now receiving many invitations from various groups, organizations, schools, among others.

 

The PMTL, with the Gabaykristo and People’s Primary, has earned the commendation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) during its 111th Plenary Assembly in Cebu last January 22-24, 2016. With the commendation by the CBCP, many dioceses around the country are now inviting PMTL to conduct voters’ education seminar based on the GabayKrsito.

 

But the CBCP will not be endorsing or supporting any candidates.

 


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Evangelicals slam Duterte

The following is an open letter to Duterte from the Evangelicals.

Dear Mayor Rodrigo Duterte:

We write on behalf of 33,000 evangelical local churches with millions of members scattered around the country, expressing concerns about your narrative told during one of your sorties about one of our sisters in the Lord, the late lady missionary Jacqueline Hamill, who died a martyr’s death while performing ministry work in a Davao jail in 1989.

We were taken aback and aghast that the story became a laughing matter to your supporters and some of the viewing public.

This is not about your aspiration to become President of our country, nor anything about politics.

While we agree with the countless claims of changes that led to progress in Davao City under your leadership, allow us to speak on behalf of the church.

With due respect, sir, your derogatory statement as an aspiring father of our beloved country about a woman victim of the heinous crimes of rape and murder in the performance of ministry work for the spiritual well-being of our people, while it may be an expression of utter anger or a joke, is an insult, is offensive and sacrilegious to her family, the Christian Church, the missionary-sending country and the mission society who saw her death as the ultimate sacrifice.

With all due respect, sir, we are not demanding apology or seeking retribution. We will leave it to your judgment on how you will respond to this letter in the listening ears and watchful eyes of millions of devoted followers of Jesus Christ in our country.

Ultimately, all our actions and deeds will be weighed by God, but the public and the religious are concerned how you treat situations such as this and the way you handle yourself as a leader.

While you claim to speak the language of the masses, as an aspiring President of our country, your comments, remarks, jokes and verbal expressions will be heard around the world as first representative of all Filipinos, as it has already been in this case. Whatever you say will bode well or ill for the country.

Please be reminded of the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

“11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.

“18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man,…” (Matthew 15, Holy Bible)

We are praying for you as well as all the other candidates that the word of God may be your rule and guide your thoughts and actions, whether you are elected or not as it is God who ultimately lifts people up.

Yours respectfully,

Bishop Noel Pantoja
National Director
Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC)

Bishop Efraim Tendero
Secretary General
World Evangelical Alliance

Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches
62 Molave Street, Project 3, Quezon City 1102
tel (632) 913. 1655 to 57 / facsimile loc. 601
http://www/pceconline.org


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