On May 9, we will once again exercise one of the pillars of our democratic and free society – the electoral process, which will make way for an orderly and peaceful transition of power from the current administration unto the next.
This will also serve as our people’s referendum on the type of governance we have experienced in the last six years. As your co-journeyers in various facets of society – in the schools, in the parishes, in hospitals, in basic communities and in other locales – we have seen and we have heard the cry of the poor, which continues to demand for freedom from hunger and poverty; for justice in the face of murders and other crimes; for climate justice in the face of the worsening environmental situation in the country; for a better brand of public service in the face of corruption and apathy of those in power; and for peace in the face of violence.
In Jesus Christ, our Divine Master, he who is Way, Truth, and Life (cf. Jn. 14, 6), we have an example of a true shepherd-leader who embraced our own poverty and who did not hesitate to speak out against injustices in society. That is why we invite you to “choose life” (Dt 30, 19) and clearly scrutinize the candidates through the lens of the Gospel. As your companions in the journey, we exhort you not to forget our principles:
- Let us choose true co-journeyers on the way. As Filipinos, let us discern who among the candidates truly desire to serve the nation, and not just protect the interests of a few. Know the candidates’ friends. In Christ’s ministry on earth, we have seen how he valued journeying with those who live in the fringes of society. Who among the candidates aim to follow Christ in this manner? Look at their track records. There, we will see who truly responded to the call to serve our fellow Filipinos in both big and small ways, in and out of government.
Let us not put into power those who clearly have vested interests: those who have a record of protecting oligarchs and the interests of the few; those who support suppressing the people’s right to information, as well as our right to be consulted and to participate in transparent governance; as well as those candidates whom we only see during the campaign period and election time.
- Let us choose those who value the truth. In the face of the widespread disinformation and fake news which serve to poison the mind of our fellow Filipinos on social media, let us choose the candidates who respect our ability to decide based on truth, and who give us the power to do so.
Let us reject candidates who continue to exploit us through lies in order to get our votes: these include those who were proven to have abused their power and authority, and have unjustly enriched themselves in office; those who continue to red-tag the opposition and those who express dissent against the government; those who employ trolls in order to confuse the citizenry; those who soil our dignity (especially of the poor) by buying our votes and by indulging in other unfair election practices; and, those who continue to trample history by denying the biggest sins against the Filipino nation, including those that committed under the Marcos dictatorship.
- Let us choose those who will defend life. In the face of unbridled killings and the continued decline in the overall quality of life in our country, let us choose leaders who will truly promote fullness of life. The primary requisite for this, of course, is that the candidate must have integrity: that is, what he or she does must not be different from what he or she publicly supports. This conviction will serve as the bedrock for the defense of life in all its aspects: in ensuring sufficient and dignified jobs for all; in respecting human life from conception to natural death; in protecting and defending human rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, and environmental rights; in ensuring the continuation of the peace process; as well as in the expansion of democratic spaces and a just society.
Let us not vote for candidates who are against life: those who support extrajudicial killings; those who defend encroachments on the free press and on ancestral domains; those who make a living and abet corporations who wreak havoc on the environment; those who continue to remain silent in the face of continued Chinese aggression on the West Philippine Sea; as well as those who desire all-out-war (instead of all-out peace) in our relations with rebel groups in Mindanao and other parts of the country.
Given all that is happening in our society today, we all have a collective and moral obligation to help one another in improving the conditions in our nation, especially for the poor. Through the Gospel, may we discover that we have a Christian duty in this coming elections, and so, be able to break free from selfish reasons – be it political, familial, party, or regional – and to cast our votes according to what is right.
We believe in ability of the Filipino people to choose intelligently. We also trust that we will also be united in prayers so that good may be conquered by evil (cf. Rom 12, 21). We, the consecrated persons in the Philippines, continue in praying and in working so that our nation may be filled with the Holy Spirit this time of the elections.
22 February 2022, Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter.
For the CMSP:
Sr. Marilyn A. Java, RC
Fr. Cielito R. Almazan, OFM
Joint Executive Board Members
Mo. Ma. Nemia D. Daral, OP
Br. Roque T. Jusay, OH
Sr. Ella P. Erepol, MMB
Fr. Elias L. Ayuban Jr., CMF
Sr. Maria Ofelia D. Daet, OP
Fr. Ignacio B. Bercades Jr., sdP
Sr. Celerina A. Galang, OP
Fr. Leonardo M. Cabrera, MSC
Sr. Maria Gina D. Gorre, FSpIF
Fr. Orville R. Cajigal, RCJ
Sr. Rosemary M. Plaza, MSM
Sr. Corazon I. Sanchez, SIHM