People who have the moral ascendancy and who are capable of holding public office must run in next year’s national elections.
This was the call made by Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, prelate of Cagayan de Oro in the southern Philippines.
“I think we should encourage good people to run for office because that is part of their duty,” said the prelate.
He expressed hope that a “qualified leader” will emerge from among the political hopefuls who will run in the 2022 elections.
“I think we have many good people,” he said. “That’s why it’s important to support them,” added the prelate.
Archbishop Ledesma has been among Church leaders who urged the faithful in the past to form “circles of discernment” to discuss their choices of leaders.
“Group discernment should be more enriching and enlightening instead of relying on one’s solitary perceptions,” said the prelate in an article published ahead of the 2019 polls.
Several Church leaders have been calling for people’s engagement in “principled partisan politics” even as it runs counter to the traditional view that the Church should stay “neutral” when it comes to politics.
“Christians should be guided by moral values and first principles,” said Archbishop Ledesma, adding that the entire community is “a stakeholder in the choice of its leaders.”
He said “candidates should be elected not on the basis of personal favors given to the voter, but on their record of public service and commitment to work for the common good.”
He said a candidate’s qualification can be summed up in “five Cs,” that is, conscience, competence, compassion, companions, and commitment.
“Through circles of discernment, may every concerned voter engage in principled partisan politics for the common good of our nation,” Archbishop Ledesma said.
He said he will also campaign against political dynasties, even as “there are also good political dynasties.”
“But as a matter of principle, it should not be allowed. It’s part of the spirit of the Constitution,” he said.