Catholic church leaders in the Philippines have voiced concern over a proposal to postpone the 2022 national and local elections due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The bishops said there is “no strong reason” to warrant the postponement of the elections.
House Deputy Majority Leader Mikey Arroyo last week floated the idea of postponing the elections because of the pandemic.
He said that the earliest time a vaccine for COVID-19 may become available to the public might be September or October 2021, which is already the period for the filing for candidacy for those running in the elections.
“I’ve been doing my share of reading about this pandemic and it seems that, assuming for the sake of argument that nothing goes wrong, the earliest that the vaccine will be available in our country for everybody, maybe September or October next year,” said the legislator.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, said the elections should push through and the Commission on Elections should find a way to continue the “democratic process” even with the pandemic.
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said postponing the elections is not only against the country’s Constitution, but will also allow the extension of the term of office “of those who did not serve the people well.”
“We can accept and admit that this COVID-19 pandemic is a judgement call. We can learn many things from this pandemic. We see who really help and serve us without vested interest nor with selfish motives,” said Bishop Santos.
“It is not only against the Constitution, but not to exercise our right to vote, we are just prolonging their misconduct and conniving to their misdeeds,” he added.
Bishop Arturo Bastes, retired prelate of Sorsogon, said that “as much as possible, [people] must follow the rules laid down in the Philippine Constitution,” warning that breaking the rules can result in corruption and anarchy.
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