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Thursday, February 7, 2013


HIS Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, will lead the discernment recollection for election stakeholders and candidates for the May 2013 elections this Feb. 15.

The Dilaab Movement in partnership with the Couples for Christ will hold the recollection, which will be held at the Sacred Heart Center, D. Jakosalem St., Cebu City.

Jenny Tan, project coordinator of Dilaab Foundation, said Cebu is the only province that holds a recollection for election stakeholders and candidates.

It will be a two-part activity.

For the morning session, the election stakeholders, including the Comelec, AFP, teachers and voters are the participants of the recollection with a theme “Listening:

Key to Genuine and Effective Companioning of Public Servants.”

In the afternoon, candidates and their partymates will listen to the topic about the “key to genuine and effective public service.”

All the candidates in the Province of Cebu, including the gubernatorial, congressional, and mayoral aspirants are invited.

Participants

During the Kapihan sa PIA yesterday, Tan said there were still 50 candidates in the Province who confirmed to join the recollection.

The candidates who will join the recollection will have to fill up the Laser test (Lifestyle, Action, Supporters, Election Conduct and Reputation).

In the laser test, questions are to be answered by the candidate, like “How much money will you need for your candidacy?” and “How will you raise funds?”

There is also a laser test for the voters.

The laser test was released last 2007 where the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo was the first to answer it.

By the end of the activity, candidates will sign voluntarily a personal covenant “for honest and meaningful elections.”

“I shall not buy votes and its equivalents nor encourage selling of a person’s votes,” a part of the My Covenant for the May 2013 Elections read.

Lawyer Carlo Fortuna, Dilaab Volunteer, said if volunteers will sign the covenant, they will remember their promise for a true public service.

“Kung mahadlok ka sa Ginoo, mahaldok ka masayop (If you have fear in God then you’ll have fear for wrongdoings),” Fortuna said.

Arnel Sacris, provincial area director of Couples for Christ, said they also planned to do the recollection activity in distant municipalities whose candidates cannot join this Feb.15.

Support

Meantime, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma expressed support for the activity.

“The event responds to the call of Benedict XVI for ‘the evangelical formation and pastoral accompaniment of a new generation of Catholics working in politics,’” he said in a circular addressed to parish priests, chaplains, religious congregations and church-based groups.

Palma said he supports the non-partisan event that provides spiritual space for the May 2013 elections in Cebu Province and the Central Visayas region.

The activity is aimed to develop and heighten the process of listening to and strengthening a God-fearing conscience as part of preparations for the “moral rigors of the coming electoral exercise.”

“This recollection is one of a series of activities where a network of concerned citizens and groups all over the province of Cebu will be formed to offer pastoral accompaniment to Catholics, other Christians, and other people of good will working in politics,” said Palma in his letter.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) earlier announced its support for discernment through a statement issued after the first biennial plenary session last month.

In part, the bishops said “The Divine Spirit continues to blow, also in our time. With the eyes of faith we thank and praise the Lord: for the growing consciousness among many of the lay faithful that they have to take seriously their political duties.”

“We commend and support lay initiatives to form circles of discernment to choose worthy candidates and even to run as candidates in order to bring values of God’s kingdom in the public discourse. We will help the people to know the stance of those who run for office on important issues of the country,” they added.

Surveys

Meanwhile, survey firm Pulse Asia’s Ronald Holmes said the public should not believe politicians who claim to have commissioned a Pulse Asia survey.

They only make a claim when they are leading the surveys anyway.

Holmes explained that when politicians commission a survey, results are not for public consumption. There is an agreement on this.

While he did not say that Pulse Asia surveys almost always hit the mark, there was another study conducted on election surveys that state that effects are minimal and are “completely harmless.”

Pulse Asia says that media, particularly television, is the most influential source of information during elections.

Surveys are also what politicians bank on as an advantage to their opponents during media interviews.

Leading

In Cebu City, Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) and Team Rama have both claimed to be leading in the surveys.

Both did not release their surveys to the public to prove that these are scientific.

It was Councilor Rodrigo Abellanosa who first claimed that his south district congressional opponent, Aristotle Batuhan, is lagging in the BOPK surveys, even failing to muster just 20 percent.

In answer to that, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama claimed that, based on their survey, not one of the candidates from BOPK will win in the 2013 elections.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 07, 2013.

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