CAGAYAN de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma urged lay Catholics to form circles of discernment and engage themselves in principled, partisan politics.
Ledesma said that the Catholic faithfuls should vote for candidates that are working for the common good.
“They have the right to choose candidates, not the institutional leaders of the Church. Lay Catholics should create their own group to support candidates,” Ledesma said.
Principled partisan politics, he said means that Catholic Christians could campaign for good candidates as an exercise of their faith. He also said the people should be actively involved in the upcoming midterm elections.
In a pastoral letter, the Catholic bishops also urged voters to preserve checks and balances in government by electing “principled” candidates this coming midterm elections.
The bishops stressed the need for such system that restrain not only government but those who run it.
“We encourage voters to be more discerning in their votes. It is very crucial therefore that we elect public officials who are principled, courageous and who have the common good as their main concern and not their own political interests,” the bishops said.
Meanwhile, local politicians from different parties will have a chance to present their platforms and be known to the public on March 26 in a forum.
The said event was organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) offices from Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental, with partners including the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), Xavier University (XU), and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) through the Lambigit Igsoon para sa Hiniusang Pag-uswag sa Katilingban (Lihuk) 2019 Movement.
The event will held at at the XU Little Theater, Xavier University, Corrales Avenue, Cagayan de Oro City. City-based candidates were slated from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Meanwhile, the province level will be held at the Patrick Cronin Hall, St. Augustine Cathedral, next day on March 27, from 8 a.m. to 12nn.
All local candidates are expected to be present, with some invited community leaders from different sectors, LIHUK volunteers, and representatives from Comelec, and other key agencies.
Members from various media outlets are also expected to be there to cover the said event.
Nestor Banuag Jr., LIHUK 2019 lead convenor and Namfrel chapter coordinator for Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental, said that this collaborative effort aims to guide the different election stakeholders especially the candidates on their tasks and responsibilities, to ensure clean, honest, fair and credible elections.
The Cagayan de Oro City Comelec office, led by election officer Atty. Ramil Acol, emphasized that “Comelec’s main objective for the candidates’ briefing is to inform and remind the candidates on the Fair Elections Act re: the lawful election propaganda to be used during campaigning and to warn them if ever they violate the laws on campaigning, as well as to remind them of their obligation to file a statement of contributions and expenses after elections.”
The LIHUK was conceptualized in 2013, and organized in 2016.
Member organizations are Namfrel, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, Xavier University, Clean10, Alert10, Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, Cagayan de Oro City Police Office, and Task Force Oro.