Catholic priests in the Diocese of Calbayog condemned what they described as “illegal” and “immoral” practices during the conduct of this year’s national elections.
In a statement, the members of the clergy shared what they witnessed during the elections. “We do this as a part of our prophetic mission as ordained priest,” said the priests.
They said that as pastors and formators, “we have the duty to teach not only the revealed truths of our faith and the proper worship of God, but also the moral values that should characterize our Christian communities.”
The priests noted what they described as the “gross and rampant” vote-buying, saying the distribution of money during the elections “was done so casually and shamelessly as if it were an ordinary trading of goods.”
The said “threats and intimidations” were “more pronounced” while “numerous voters were disenfranchised and were not able to vote.”
“We call on the proper authorities, especially the [Commission on elections], to address this illegal and immoral practice and to use all its powers provided by the law to minimize if not put an end to it,” read the statement signed by 25 Catholic priests.
The called for “stricter implementation of the law … to prevent the rampant vote-buying in future elections.”
“Utmost secrecy and confidentiality should be maintained in the casting of votes in ballots in all precincts, including those in far-flung barangays, they added.
The priests also called on the people to do some “honest, serious and prayerful self-evaluation.”