A Catholic prelate called on Filipinos to choose political candidates in this year’s national elections who value history and freedom.
Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Caceres warned against candidates “who are not honest about history” and those who try to revise it.
The prelate also urged voters to support candidates who are “credible and honest,” adding that there are candidates who are “untruthful.”
He said people should choose those who are “honest to the people and honest about history.”
“There are people who are not honest about history. They try to change it, and worse, they try to revise it. They want us to forget our past,” said Archbishop Tirona.
The race to lead the Philippines kicked off Tuesday, with the son and namesake of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos the favorite to succeed authoritarian firebrand Rodrigo Duterte and return his clan to the presidential palace they once fled.
Candidates hit the hustings for the three-month campaign season in a chaotic and colorful charm offensive aimed at wooing millions of voters typically more interested in personality than policy.
More than 35 years after the country emerged from his father’s dictatorship, polls showed Ferdinand Marcos Jr heading towards a landslide victory in the May 9 elections.
Boosted by a massive social media campaign and a formidable alliance with first daughter and vice-presidential candidate Sara Duterte, Marcos Jr — one of the most polarizing figures in the Philippines — has vowed to “unify the country”.
Thousands of supporters chanting “Bongbong, Sara” crowded into an indoor stadium owned by an influential church near Manila for a noisy, rock concert-like campaign launch of the running mates.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Tirona celebrated Mass at the launch of the presidential campaign of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Gerona Robredo in the province of Camarines Sur on Tuesday, February 8.
The archbishop reminded the faithful that the May elections “is an important and sacred God-given duty” of the people.
“Faith covers the entire facet of the human being, including political action,” he said.
“Political action should also be for the welfare and for the common good. Our political action should proclaim our faith,” added the bishop.
He also warned the public against candidates who love to speak in flowery words and “those who preach unity and oneness but lack integrity and actions.”
“[Let us be] reminded that there is unity if there is justice, and there will be justice if there is humility,” he said.
“Do not be deceived with flowery words because words should be accompanied by humility and justice,” said the prelate.
Archbishop Tirona reminded the public “to be thankful to God” for the chance to choose the next leaders of the country, adding that there are many countries that “do not have this kind of democracy.”
He said, however, that the people should protect democracy and the freedom to choose public officials “who must act as servants not kings.”
“This right and freedom to vote should not be taken for granted and should not be abused,” he said. “Let us not allow history to repeat itself – the time when freedom was taken away from us.” – with a report from AFP