Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle spoke about how blessed the Philippines is for even having elections and highlighted the responsibility that comes with the right to vote.
Cardinal Tagle presided over a con-celebrated mass at the Manila Cathedral on Monday (May 2) and witnessed the signing of the TRUTH covenant by Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas and United Nationalist Alliance presidential bet Jejomar Binay, together with a representative of Vice Presidential candidate Leni Robredo and 15 senatorial candidates.
Tagle said in his homily: “We are blessed that elections could even be held in our country.”
“Totoong may mga panganib pero tingnan din natin na ang eleksyon ay pagkakatoon ng biyaya. Biyaya sa ating bansa na bahagi ng demokrasya,” he said, “Mapalad ka na pwede kang makiisa. Sa pamamagitan ng boto, meron kang bahagi sa kinabukasan ng ating bansa.”
Tagle narrated how in his job as an official of the Catholic Church, there were cases in other countries wherein citizens were deprived of their right to suffrage because of social classes, gender, and racial discrimination.
Hence, he reminded the Filipino voters that voting is not just a right but also a responsibility. With this right comes a responsibility to be well-informed and to follow one’s conscience in choosing the next leaders of the country.
“Ang pagboto ay isang tungkulin na di lamang makabayan kundi maka-Diyos… We participate through our votes and we are forging the destiny of our country, what a blessing,” Tagle said.
“Hindi kami mag-iimpose ng ito ang iboto niyong kandidato kasi may sariling pag-iisip at konsensya ang bawat mamamayan… We participate by choosing the people who will want to send our dreams, our desires our destinies,” he added.
Tagle also reminded the candidates that public trust is a blessing and to always keep in mind the responsibility to uplift the lives of Filipinos.
After the mass, the Manila Archbishop saw the candidates sign the Truthful, Responsible, Upright, Transparent, and Honest (TRUTH) covenant for the coming May 9 national and local elections.
The 15 senatorial candidates who signed the covenant were survey front-runner Sen. Vicente Sotto III, OFW rights advocate Maria Susanna “Toots” Ople, former PhilHealth director Risa Hontiveros , former justice secretary Leila de Lima, former interior secretary Rafael Alunan III, former Philippine National Police-Special Action Force director Getulio Napeñas Jr., former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, lawyer Lorna Kapunan, Manila Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, broadcaster Rey Langit, Princess Jacel Kiram, Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, Vicente Paez and Diosdado Valeroso.
Liberal party vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo was represented by her niece, Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas.
In the end, Tagle reminded everyone: “Manalo man ang binoto mo o hindi, hindi natatapos ang ating participation.”