Members of the Congregation of the Mission of St Vincent de Paul in the Philippines, popularly known as the Vincentians, have joined several other religious groups who have earlier expressed support for the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo and her running mate, Senator Francis Pangilinan.
“Our mission is to follow Jesus Christ, evangelizing the poor of our society,” read the missionaries statement, quoting the Gospel of St. Luke 4:18.
“In fulfilling our mission, from them we learn on how change should come about, and together with them we search for access to opportunities that help improve their lives as human persons,” it added.
The missionaries said that based on their understanding of their mission, they are supporting candidates “who consistently defend the poor from powers that relegate them towards the precipice of mainstream society.”
The missionaries statement listed the following as their “convictions” that have become the bases for their support for Robredo and Pangilinan:
- On Respect for Life and Human Dignity: Since we reject candidates who promoted, enabled and implemented extrajudicial killings during the martial-law age of [former president Ferdinand] Marcos and the “war-on-drugs” stage of [President Rodrigo] Duterte, hence we support candidates who uphold and defend the human dignity and the right-to-life of helpless victims.
- On Integrity and Accountability: Since we reject candidates who have been dishonest, convicted of a crime, and accused of graft and corruption, hence we support candidates who evince integrity in their personal lives, and demonstrate determination toward transparency and accountability in public service.
- On Care for the Environment and Territorial Integrity: Since we reject candidates who have no clear stand on other countries’ incursion into our islands and our economy, hence we support candidates who proffer attainable and sustainable programs to stand for our territorial integrity, protect our indigenous peoples, and respond to the effect of climate change.
- On Empowerment of the People at the Margins: Since we reject candidates who belong to political dynasties and practice patronage politics, hence we support candidates who show good track records in empowering the underprivileged and present clear platforms for their employment, education, health, housing and sustenance.
“Based on these convictions, we fully support the candidacy of Leni Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan for president and vice president of the Philippines, respectively,” read the statement.
The religious congregation quoted St Vincent de Paul, the universal patron of charity, as saying that “There is no act of charity that is not accompanied by justice.”
“Robredo embodies this Vincentian spirit,” said the missionaries.
Earlier this month, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul also declared its support for Robredo’s candidacy.
The congregation of nuns said that they are supporting the other candidates in her team “who stand for the same platforms and manifest the same love and respect for God and the Filipino people.”
“We pledge to collaborate with other institutions, groups, and individuals from all faiths and walks of life to make our dream and desire for a better Philippines a reality,” said the nuns in a statement.
Earlier, more than 500 Catholic priests, deacons, brothers, and religious sisters endorsed Robredo and Pangilinan’s candidacy despite pronouncements by some Church sectors that religious leaders should not support specific candidates.
“All things considered, among the candidates who have laid out their political platforms and applied for the highest and the second highest posts of the land, we adjudge that it is Vice President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ G. Robredo and Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan who best fit the job to be the next president and vice president of the Philippines,” read a statement released by the group “Pari Madre Misyonero Para Kay Leni.”
Other Catholic groups that have endorsed the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem include the De La Salle Brothers of the Taft Community, the Ligaya ng Panginoon, which is supporting a candidate for the first time in nearly 50 years, and the international council of the Couples for Christ.