HomeNewsFaith-based groups call for continuous ‘vigilance’ in wake of Philippine elections

Faith-based groups call for continuous ‘vigilance’ in wake of Philippine elections

"We pray for truth to illuminate our hearts and minds, so that we may know and so that truth will us set free”

Several faith-based groups in the country called for “vigilance” in the wake of the May 9 elections that swept into power former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte.

“The May 9 polls have left much to be desired,” read a joint statement of several Catholic and Protestant Church groups on May 13, 2022, less than a week after the polls.

They noted that even as the automated election system came up with speedy results of the elections “with uncanny consistency,” it “did not generate confidence in a democratic process.”

“Quite the opposite — these have raised both suspicions and a gnawing in the stomach for what is ahead,” read the group’s statement.

The Church groups said the wide gap between the votes garnered by candidates for the post of president and vice president “is highly suspicious.”

“The [automated election system] is anything but transparent, especially under weak checks-and-balances in governance,” they said.

They also decried the “massive disinformation, troll farms, and social-media micromarketing” during the elections season.

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“We were and are an unfortunate example of how those with funds are capable of manipulating the truth,” they said.

“Disinformation maneuvers added to long entrenched political patronage and dynasties, complete with vote-buying, create a formidable foe for genuine democracy,” they added.

The Church leaders said they would “continue to guard our votes.”

The statement was signed by, among others, Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines; Bishop Rhee M. Timbang, Obispo Maximo of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente; Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, Apostolic Vicar of Taytay, Palawan; and Bishop Emergencio D. Padillo of the Middle Luzon Jurisdictional Area of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.

They warned against what they described as the “specters of worsening crony capitalism and corruption, rising tyranny and human rights violations, and shrinking democratic space, press freedom, and other civil liberties.”

“As ruling oligarchs coalesce and join forces, thus heightening prospects for the Philippines to be plunged into another era of darkness and oppression, we stake our claim for truth, justice, and peace,” said the Church leaders.

“We stand firmly on the side of democracy and fair play,” read their statement.

“Our unshakable concern for the rights and welfare of the farmers, workers, fisherfolk, migrants, youth and urban poor impels our advocacy. The future of our people challenges us to greater vigilance,” they added.

“We pray that God’s light will shine upon us and open the eyes of this nation, so that we will choose what makes for peace. We pray for truth to illuminate our hearts and minds, so that we may know and so that truth will us set free,” read the group’s statement.

The other signatories of the statement include Sister Ma. Lisa Ruedas, DC, Daughters of Charity, Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation; One Faith. One Nation. One Voice; Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum; Kalipunan ng Kristianong Kabataan sa Pilipinas (KKKP); Rural Missionaries of the Philippines; Faith and Bayan.

The Medical Mission Sisters; Missionary Disciples of Jesus; Sisters’ Association in Mindanao (SAMIN); Rise Up for Life and for Rights; Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines; and the Promotion of Church People’s Response also signed the statement.

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