Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo urged Filipino voters to choose leaders based on their values and not on survey results or claims of change by any means.
“The change that we need is a radical change. I speak of a profound change in mind, behavior and values. Sadly, a candidate who promises change could have the same values and behavior that require change,” Quevedo said in a pastoral letter.
He highlighted the need for a candidate to have moral integrity and respect for the sanctity of life, based not just on pronouncements but also on their actions.
“Select a candidate who by belief and practice demonstrates support for the right to life,” the Archbishop from Mindanao said.
“Corruption is a plague in our country. Billions of pesos go into private pockets instead of being spent to uplift the lives of the poor. Select a candidate who is not tainted by corruption, unexplained wealth and properties and enrichment in office,” he added.
Apart from the issue of corruption, he also highlighted the need for a candidate who will work for peace in Mindanao.
“Every candidate promises to work for peace. But consider this. The phenomenal minoritization of the Bangsamoro in the past 80 years in the land where they had once exercised self-determination and sovereignty is an undisputed historical record,” the Cardinal said.
“Has the candidate in any way expressed his biases and prejudices against the Bangsamoro so as to obstruct rather than promote peace? Will he recognize and promote Bangsamoro self-determination while preserving national sovereignty? Select a candidate who will be a just peacemaker,” he added.
The Cardinal, who is considered the chief religious “Shepherd of the Archdiocese,” said that it is his duty to guide the people in choosing their leaders.
“…my duty is to help your conscience in choosing your candidates in accordance with the moral–social principles of the Church. I do so in the light of the social situation in our country and our region,” he said.
In a similar way, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle reminded the Filipinos 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 in his homily in a mass that preceded the signing of the TRUTH Covenant by candidates.
“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.
Cardinal Tagle presided over a con-celebrated mass at the Manila Cathedral on Monday (May 2) and witnessed the signing of the Truthful, Responsible, Upright, Transparent, and Honest (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.