Our faith tells us that the obligation to participate in political life is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “It is necessary that all participate, each according to his/her position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person… As far as possible, citizens should take an active part in public life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 1913-1915) Catechism for Filipino Catholic (CFC) #1162 saysThe Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) proposed that pastors have competence
in the moral principles governing politics, while the laity have competence in active and direct partisan politics (cf. PCP II 342). But “BOTH CLERGY AND LAITY must be INVOLVED IN THE AREA OF POLITICSwhen MORAL and GOSPEL VALUES are AT STAKE” (PCP II 344, emphasis added).
Catechism for Filipino Catholic (CFC) #1163
PCP II neatly summarized the principles that must GUIDE FILIPINO CATHOLICS’participation in POLITICAL LIFE:
– the basic standard is PURSUIT OF THE COMMON GOOD;
– characterized by the DEFENSE AND PROMOTION OF JUSTICE;
– inspired and guided by the SPIRIT OF SERVICE;
– imbued with the LOVE OF PREFERENCE FOR THE POOR; and
– that EMPOWERING PEOPLE be carried out both as a process and as a goal of political activity (cf. PCP II 351).
Taking seriously our mission to participate actively and responsibly in public life (cf CL42; PCP II 353), we draw up the following characteristics of the leaders we should vote for, based on Gospel Values and on our own experiences as impoverished people in our country
1. Public office is a public trust. We will vote for leaders who are truthful and transparent in what they say and have accomplished. A deceitful leader is distasteful to God.
2. We will vote for leaders who have not been accused of nor been involved in any form of corruption. Stealing public funds deprives the poor and needy.
3. We will elect leaders who have track records of care for the poor and who defend the rights of the poor. All candidates speak about care for the poor, but sadly this remains lip service.
4. According to the encyclical Laudato Si, our world and God-created environment are our sole home. We are its stewards and our moral and spiritual responsibility as stewards is to take care of and cultivate it to benefit those living in it. We will elect leaders who offer real solutions to the problems of climate change and pollution from different sources.
5. Our faith teaches us that we are made in the image and likeness of God and must not be desecrated. Human rights are divine birthrights that our leaders ought to respect. We will elect leaders who respect human rights and our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, including the right to defend the voiceless people in the periphery.
6. We will vote for leaders who have integrity, honesty, a clean track record, and a sincere commitment to end political dynasties and patronage politics that hinder the progress of our nation due to the unbridled succession of the same families in power.
7. We will vote for leaders with concrete, tangible, and measurable economic plan that will empower the people by fostering self-reliance and the development of indigenous industry and agriculture.
8. Because only God can take back what He has given, taking a life is God’s most stringent prohibition We will vote for leaders who value human life, and are against killing by whatever means.
9. We will vote for leaders who are firm in their constitutional duties to pursue an independent foreign policy. The paramount consideration of foreign relations must be our national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination, as the constitution states.
10. We will make our vote a reflection of our faith by choosing leaders who sincerely believe in God and follow His commands in serving our people.
Invoking the Holy Spirit in prayer, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila-Council of the Laity (RCAM-CL) went through a “Hininga-Nilay-Kilos” (See-Judge-Act) discernment process in the context of the present political situation for the upcoming national elections in May 2022.
In our collective discernment, we, the overwhelming majority of the Vicariate Lay Representatives constituting the core group of the RCAM Council of the Laity, have come to the conclusion that Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan are the persons most qualified to lead our nation as President and Vice President respectively. At the same time, we acknowledge with due respect the preferences of some of our colleagues as well as the constraints of our colleagues in government service.
We enjoin our fellow laity to express their support for this undertaking in their parishes, organizations, neighborhood and places of work. At the same time, it is our hope that religious congregations and our dear clergy would also support and to pray for us.
Finally, we seek the prayerful blessing of our beloved father and Archbishop, His Eminence, Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, Jr., as we make this crucial choice for God-loving servant leaders.
May our God bless us through the intercession of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, St. Joseph, San Lorenzo Ruiz and San Pedro Calungsod.
March 25, 2022, Solemnity of the Annunciation of our Lord
On behalf of the Council of the Laity-RCAM
Teodoro G. Santiago