Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bishops and Philippine Elections

The CBCP has always felt the local Church has to play a strong role in turning elections into a vehicle of social change. So in the coming May 10 elections, what do bishops think are the changes most needed today?

The change most needed in our heavily flawed political culture has always been freeing our election process from cheating, vote-buying, murder, over-spending in campaigns, etc. — to make it clean, honest and free. This simply is saying our elections have always been open to all sorts of corrupt practices — a national shame — and correcting it is a concern that the bishops have tried doing (with little success) through pastoral letters.

This year the hope is that the new automated manner of voting would, at least, work well, and that the incumbent president fail in her various efforts to hang onto power.

The bishops’ collective voice has always been clear in their opposition to the many evils of Philippine elections. Many bishops have realized that speaking out is not what is most needed but the organization of the laity for action that only they can do. This means only one thing: the exercise of “people power.”

However, this year, four bishops have announced their candidates. A bishop has the right to express his opinion, but the bishop should make sure to tell people that they have to make their own choice based on their conscience after their own careful discernment.

In 1986, the bishops judged that the snap elections were fraudulent and condemned it and Marcos’ continued rule.

But we also made sure to call on everyone to discern and judge the polls on their own. We told people that if they agreed with our judgment, then they should pray and act together to correct the wrong.

We must be mindful of our influence and make sure we do not stifle people’s conscience, but that we educate it.

This is why diocesan social action work vis a vis elections has been concentrated on voter education during the three years between elections. Voter organization then becomes more feasible at election times themselves to ensure the untampered counting and reporting of votes.

It is a huge task, but workable and successful where people are vigilant and unafraid to guard the sanctity of their ballots.

Already, by their simple efforts to keep elections free of all the many wrongs usually done in their conduct, the social change that the Church constantly preaches is beginning to happen.

For when the people start acting in their own way and at their level against the many corrupt practices of Philippine politics, that is when the real social change takes place with the corresponding change of the values of the people.

1 comment:

cranialexercise said...

I have NOTHING AGAINST Bishop Ramon Villena, or the Catholic Church.

But when a church leader says an IRRESPONSIBLE STATEMENT to his followers, I have a God-given right to say something about it.

To Bishop Ramon Villena.

Please don't pretend that you know anything about Philippine history. Obviously, you don't because you are blinded by your friendship with the Arroyos, and you use your position in religion to legitimize your claim.

If I were to substantiate your statements with ABSENCE OF FACTS, they will show that YOU ARE IGNORANT ABOUT ECONOMICS, POLITICS, AND you just continue to make the Filipino villagers more ignorant by leading them in the wrong way.

As a historian, I have my facts. Can you refute them?

Top Ten Reasons Why Gloria Arroyo is the Dumbest President in the History of the Philippines:

1. She has a PhD in Economics but cannot eradicate poverty in the Philippines.

2. She received some doctorate education in the United States, at Georgetown University, as a classmate of Bill Clinton. She did not use this knowledge to help her country.

3. She is the daughter of Diosdado Macapagal, president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1969, which makes her a princess-turned-queen, and her two sons in Congress -- princes. If their dynasty cannot eradicate poverty now, during her prime, what makes us think she and her sons can eradicate poverty in the future?

4. She has been in power since 1987, when she was Undersecretary of Trade and Industry. What investments did she bring to the Philippines? Thirty-three years of power for nothing.

5. Economic growth coming from the government in the Philippines is a fallacy. The truth - remittances from more than 10 million Filipino overseas workers all over the world drive the economy of the nation.

6. Her inability to bring economic change to the Philippines over the past 33 years is one of the main reasons why Filipinos are working overseas away from their families and love ones.

7. All her infrastructure projects were envisioned and designed during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos. We did the research at the Department of Transportation and Communication, and the Department of Science and Technology in the Philippines.

8. Her close political ally, Andal Ampatuan, Sr., has a son who killed fifty-seven people, thirty-two of them journalists. This is the largest single massacre of press people in human history, in the absence of a war or insurgency (that's like President Obama's close friend killing Fox News analysts, CNN reporters, and MSNBC pundits).

9. She is now a Congresswoman in her province of Pampanga, thereby stopping other political aspirants to take part in political processes. She does not want Filipinos to mature and learn from democracy. This is an abuse of her power as former president.

10. Her administration is responsible for 100 deaths of journalists and activists since 2001. Compared to former President Marcos, there were 34 deaths over a period of 21 years. Marcos did not have a Ph.D. in Economics. Nor did he study in the US, or was the son of a former president.

The only reason why the Philippines is NOT a failed state?

American presence and intelligence in Manila and Mindanao.

In ending, even a Bishop has social responsibilities. Why don't you realize that, Bishop Villena?