- The CBCP issues guidelines that Catholics may use in choosing candidates during the elections
- It reminds people not to vote for those who intend to make the country a secular state
- Bishops are also reminded not to make statements that may be interpreted as a form of support for a particular candidate
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has urged Roman Catholic voters not to vote for political aspirants who support divorce and death penalty as these issues are not aligned with the teachings of the Church.
In an article written by KBK for GMA News Online on December 29, it was disclosed that CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas has issued a pastoral letter entitled, “Wise as serpents, innocent as doves” that can guide the Catholic faithful in choosing who to vote for.
“While we expect every public officer to give life to the constitutional posture of ‘benevolent neutrality’ in respect to the attitude of the State towards religion, 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,” Villegas wrote.
The 55-year-old Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan has also reminded his fellow bishops to resist from making any statement that may be interpreted as a form of persuasion to vote for a particular candidate.
“While bishops, as citizens of the Republic, have the right to make their own choices, our office in the Church as well as our stature, of which we are all unworthy, urge upon us that circumspection that should prevent misunderstanding and confusion among our flock,” he added.
During the 2013 senatorial elections, a number of Roman Catholic parishes have posted a list of candidates who expressed their support for the controversial Reproductive Health Law (then House Bill 4244); tagging them as “Team Patay.“
The Commission on Elections have reacted on the move; ordering the churches to take down the posters and threatening religious authorities of a possible election offense citing a violation on the allowable sizes of campaign propaganda.
Last January, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the parishes; saying that the country’s highest judicial body is “concerned about the imminent threat of prosecution for their exercise of free speech.“