CBCP leader urges honesty in the coming polls

Bishop Ambo cites falsehood of ‘PH golden years’ under Marcos

THE leader of the country’s Roman Catholics expressed support to a campaign for clean and honest elections, urging Filipinos to fight the current “age of disinformation” with “the moral imperative of truth and honesty.”

In an address to a group of businesspersons and professionals, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president and Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said Filipinos cannot afford to remain quiet when falsehoods gain the upper hand as the May 2022 elections approach.

The country’s leading Catholic prelate criticized claims that the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s rule was the so-called golden years of the Philippines, assertions made in support of the candidacy of his son and namesake Ferdinand Jr.

“When some candidates claim that the best government we ever had was the Marcos dictatorship, good heavens! When they claimed that martial law was meant only to discipline the Filipinos, good heavens! That it actually improved our economy and it provided jobs to the people, good heavens!” he exclaimed.

David also warned against the Filipinos’ inclination to vote for poll survey front runners, instead of candidates they think are morally upright. 

“It could only mean we have failed big time with regard to the formation of a moral conscience among Catholics,” he said.

Ferdinand Jr. leads in several surveys among presidential aspirants.

David added well-funded armies of trolls whose main task is to create and maintain thousands of fake accounts that regularly post fake news, false narratives, hate comments and messages must be opposed.

Old campaign

David spoke at an online re-launching of an honesty campaign by the group Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) on Saturday. 

BCBP coordinator for programs and services Noel delos Reyes said their group is part of over 20 faith-based organizations pushing for “clean, accurate, responsible and transparent 2022 elections.”

The “Halalang Marangal 2022” (noble elections) campaign will not issue a list of candidates it will support but is focused on asking candidates to agree to disclose their statements of assets and liabilities by signing an honesty pledge, Reyes said.

The business leader said BCBP has also written earlier to the Commission on Elections on apparent violations to the Election Code, including illegal early campaigning by many candidates.

The group refused to identify any erring candidate, however.

“The campaign shall focus on asking national candidates to sign the honesty pledge,” Reyes said.

Founded in 2000, BCBP claims a membership of 18,000 members across the country and abroad.

It launched its first Be Honest campaign in 2004 it replicated through various slogans in every succeeding election thereafter.# (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Activism is not terrorism’

“Activism is not terrorism.

We cannot let this to happen. This is not only intolerable, this is inhuman, unjust, unlawful. Thus we urge everyone to register opposition against the bill which to our firm belief will further re-enforce tyranny and totalitarianism.”

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo
Diocese of Kidapawan
National Director, Caritas Philippines

Jo Maline Mamangun

Anti-terrorism measure fuels Duterte’s tyranny, Catholic Church says

The social action arm of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines expressed opposition to the anti-terrorism bill passed by Congress this week, saying the measure threatens the very values of freedom, respect, justice and compassion.

In a statement Saturday, June 6, Caritas Philippines said it strongly condemns what it calls blatant manoeuvring of the legislative processes in the passage of the prospective Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 by both houses of Congress.

Caritas said the measure aims to criminalize or to arbitrarily brand as terrorists those perceived to be opposing the Rodrigo Duterte government.

“We denounce the obvious circumvention of the democratic processes just to obey and please the self-interests of the legislators and the autocratic rule of the president,” the statement reads.

Aimed to replace the Human Security Act of 2007, the measure awaits Duterte’s signature to become law .

Caritas said the new anti-terror bill targets activists, many of whom suffer from red-baiting by government officials and the military.

“We cannot let this happen. This not only intolerable, this is inhuman, unjust and unlawful. Thus we urge everyone to register opposition against the bill which to our firm belief will further re-enforce tyranny and totalitarianism,” Caritas said.

Earlier, several bishops expressed opposition to the measure that allows warrantless arrests and detention without charges for up to 24 days.

Caritas said its condemnation of the measure is in adherence, defense and protection of the rights and welfare of the Filipino people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.

Human rights defenders, activists, lawyers groups, journalists and artists said they will question the measure’s constitutionality even before it is signed into law by the president. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)