By Leslie Ann Aquino
At least five senatorial bets of the opposition slate “Otso Diretso” were able to get the support of some Catholic priests.
Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action, identified the four candidates as Chel Diokno, Pilo Hilbay, Romulo Macalintal, Erin Tañada, and Samira Gutoc.
“Some dioceses will support certain candidates because of their track record and what they stand for,” he said in an interview.
However, Gariguez said these priests, who are their social action directors, won’t publicly endorse these candidates.
“We agreed that they won’t endorse them publicly…they will just whisper it to people they know because the church will never endorse a candidate in principle,” he said.
Asked why these priests chose candidates that are not that popular, Gariguez said they are not after the winnability of the candidate.
“It’s lamentable that those who win are often those who are popular,” he said.
“Winnability should not be a basis for choosing a candidate, rather, their platform of government, their qualities and track record,” added Gariguez.
The church official reiterated what the CBCP said last January about the upcoming May 13 midterm polls being very crucial.
“Our vote is very important so as to prevent the government to have a total control…the Senate is the last pillar of democracy,” Gariguez said.
In a pastoral statement entitled “Seek the Common Good,” the bishops, led by CBCP president Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, said the midterm polls is “crucial” especially today when checks and balances in government are being undermined.
“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,” they said.
The bishops encouraged voters to be very discerning when they cast their votes.