Bishop Villegas on vote buying: It is not sinful if one accepts the money but…

Published October 30, 2021, 11:49 AM

by Dhel Nazario

As the issue on vote buying continues to linger among political circles, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas seemed to echo a statement made by a presidential candidate in a recent video message he posted on social media.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas (CBCP / MANILA BULLETIN)

In the video, Villegas explained to the faithful that they can accept the money offered and that if they choose not to vote for the candidates if they think they are involved in illegal acts, then it is not considered a sin.

“Kung ikaw ay nagugutom, kung ikaw ay nangangailangan, puwede mong tanggapin iyon pero huwag mong tutuparin yung ipinagagawa sa’yo (If you are hungry or you are in need, you can accept it [money] but do not carry out what was asked of you),” he said.

“Sapagkat kung gumagawa yung kandidato ng isang ilegal o masamang bagay at idinadamay ka pa, sabihin mo sa kanya, ikaw na lang ang gumawa ng kasalanang iyan, wag mo na kong idamay (Because if a candidate is involved in illegal activities and is associating you with it, you can tell them to leave you out of it),” he added.

Villegas made the statement following the remark of Vice President and presidential aspirant Leni Robredo who mentioned that she has no problem with voters accepting money from politicians as long as they will vote according to their conscience.

Villegas reiterated however, that the selling or buying one’s vote is a sin to God and is against the law. But one can accept the money not because they promise to fulfill the agreement of voting for the candidate but only because they are in need.

“You are not obliged to fulfill an immoral, illegal, contract,” he stated.

He explained to the faithful that if something wrong was arranged or a bad act was asked of them, they should choose God and not the candidate who wants to buy their vote and has put a price on them.

He also reminded them that they are “priceless” and cannot be bought.