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Manila bishop asks faithful to choose ‘best people’ to lead country in 2022

"We give our best to those we love. Let us also give the best for the country if we love it," said Bishop Broderick Pabillo

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, called on the faithful on Sunday to choose the best people to lead the country in next year’s national elections.

“We give our best to those we love,” he said in a homily. “Let us also give the best for the country if we love it,” added the prelate.

“It’s 11 months before elections, when we will again choose our leaders. Let us give the best people for the country,” said Bishop Pabillo who also heads the Episcopal Commission on the Laity.

He urged the faithful to look into the characters of candidates. “How can they be good leaders if they are boastful, foul-mouthed, liars, vengeful, and disdainful to others?” he said.

Earlier, Bishop Pabillo said it is “never too early to start praying now for good leaders for next year’s elections.”

“Now that the election is near, let us assess our leaders. Did they take advantage of their role? Are they richer in their role?” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has already drawn up a list of possible successors that includes his daughter Sara, boxing star Emmanuel Pacquiao, and the son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

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Duterte, who is barred by the Constitution from seeking re-election, will end his six-year term in June 2022. His party is encouraging him to run as vice president.

Harry Roque, the president’s spokesman, said that hhile looking at “many options,” Duterte is considering endorsing his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Also on the president’s list is champion boxer and senator Pacquiao, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso and long-time aide and senator Christopher “Bong” Go.

Roque did not give a reason for Duterte’s choices, but some of them have ranked high in surveys of preferred presidential candidates for next year.

None of the five have said they plan to run for president.

Analysts said Duterte would want an ally to win the presidency to protect him from potential legal challenges and political vendettas once he loses immunity out of office.

Duterte-Carpio declined to comment. The offices of Domagoso, Go, Marcos, and Pacquiao did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Opinion polls show Duterte remains hugely popular in the Philippines, despite his controversial pro-China stance, a war on drugs that has killed thousands of suspected drug dealers, and public criticism over his government’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic. – with a report from Reuters

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