2022 Philippine Elections

Fr. Robert Reyes: Don’t be distracted, campaign hard for moral choice

Bonz Magsambol
Fr. Robert Reyes: Don’t be distracted, campaign hard for moral choice

CLERGY. Bishops, priests, and deacons belonging to the Clergy for Moral Choice, holds a press conference at the Manila Cathedral to officially endorse Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan for president and vice president, on May 4, 2022.

Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

In an unprecedented move, over 1,200 Filipino bishops, priests, and deacons endorse presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo and her running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan

MANILA, Philippines – Five days before the election, Clergy for the Moral Choice (CMC), a group composed of over 1,200 Filipino bishops, priests, and deacons, urged Catholic devotees to “not be distracted and campaign hard for moral choice” as they endorsed presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo and her running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan.

“This election is crucial to the survival of democracy and our sovereignty. Crucial to the genuine upliftment of the poor to the life of dignity and humanity. We, therefore, plead with our sisters and brothers in Comelec to put country, people, and God above their own interests. This election is crucial to the survival of the Filipino soul,” said Father Robert Reyes in his homily on Wednesday, May 4, during their mass in front of the Comelec’s main office in Intramuros.

Before their mass, CMC held a press conference at the John Paul Hall in Manila Cathedral to officially endorse Robredo and Pangilinan. The priests said that they chose to come out with their endorsement this elections because it’s the right thing to do.

“Sa pagkakataong ito, kakaiba ang landscape na ating ginagalawan. Lubhang kailangan ang mas konkretong pakikilahok ng simbahan sapagkat ito ay labanan sa panig ng totoo at huwad,” Monsignor Mel David said.

(At this time, we have different political landscape. It seems that a concrete church participation is needed because the fight is between the right and fraud.)

Meanwhile, Bishop Tony Tobias said that it’s about time that the Catholic church to actively participate in the elections and endorse candidates who uphold moral values.

“Matagal tayo nagpa alipin sa ganan. Hindi naman talaga pinagbabawal ng batas ng simbahan ‘yan. Hindi puwede na lesser evil tayo all the time. Kailangan lumantad ang simbahan,” Tobias said.

(We’ve long been enslaved by this unwritten rule. The church does not prohibit endorsing a candidate. We can’t just always opt for the lesser evil. The church has to make a stand.)

The Catholic priests’ endorsement comes a day after the religious group Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) officially endorsed the tandem of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte. (READ: Like in 2016, INC endorses Marcos Jr.-Duterte)

The late dictator’s son has been leading the pre-election voter preference surveys with Robredo trailing behind him by a wide margin. In the latest Pulse Asia survey, Robredo’s voter preference was steady at 23%, while Marcos Jr.’s voter preference stayed at 56%, keeping with his numbers from the March survey

“When we say corruption is evil but do nothing against it, we tolerate it. When we say that Bongbong Marcos (BBM) did not only benefit from his father and mother’s stolen wealth, but has been using it to win the election, it is our moral and constitutional duty to denounce and reject BBM’s candidacy while campaigning wholeheartedly for VP Leni Robredo,” Reyes said.

Comelec urged: Uphold elections

CMC also urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to uphold fair and honest elections, as priests marched to Comelec office before their mass.

“The Church encourages us not to give up on our search and defense for truth. We believe that the Comelec will persevere in overcoming evil by goodness. We hope that the Comelec’s inter-agency task force against vote-buying will serve the common good,” Reyes said. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.