Philippine bishops urge Catholics not to vote for 'evil'

Filipino Catholics should not vote for the "lesser evil" in upcoming national elections.

Feb 04, 2016

MANILA: Filipino Catholics should not vote for the "lesser evil" in upcoming national elections.

"Let us reject those who are dishonest, deceitful, self-seeking, and unmindful of the poor," said the country's bishops in a Feb. 3 statement.

The bishops said not voting when there is no appropriate choice for a government post "is also a valid Christian political choice," adding that "voting for the 'lesser evil' is still voting for evil."

Filipinos are set to elect the country's leaders, from president down to town officials, on May 9.

Elections in the Philippines have been historically tumultuous with candidates bribing, intimidating or even killing to ensure election victory.

During 2013 midterm elections, at least seven people were reported killed on polling day alone, while at least 60 people were killed in the lead up to the election.

In a pastoral statement titled "Being Eucharistic in Life and Deeds," the country's bishops said voters must be guided by a sense of the common good when choosing their leaders.

"Let us choose those who are truly upright and self-sacrificing, respectful of the dignity of all, and compassionate toward the poor,"‎ the bishops said.

The prelates, who held their semiannual plenary assembly in late January, said those who win government positions by fraudulent means have no "moral right to assume the offices they stole."

The bishops ‎urged the faithful not to allow themselves to be "instruments of fraud" and not to sell their votes, adding that selling one's vote "is a cooperation in a sinful practice."

"Those who engage in such practices should first repent and confess their sin," read the statement signed by Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, president of the bishops' conference.

The bishops commended the Commission on Elections for working toward a truly credible democratic process, adding that elections officials should "be strict and scrupulous in following the safeguards provided by law."

"In God's name, we ask all those in authority … not to manipulate and subvert by any means the electoral process to favor any person or political party," the bishops

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