Aspiring vice president Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan stressed that the Church does not have to campaign for them, they only need to stand against disinformation.
During his visit in San Narciso, Zambales to resume his campaign activities, Pangilinan emphasized that the Church plays an important role in debunking disinformation and false narratives that are handed down as truth to people.
“Nakakalungkot na ang iba nating mga kababayan ay hindi na nagkakaroon ng (It's saddening that some of our fellowmen do not have that) discernment of what is truth based on evidence and what is a manufactured lie,” Pangilinan said in a meeting with a group of clergies at the San Sebastian Catholic Church in San Narciso.
“The Church plays an important role in debunking disinformation and fake news as it is very rampant nowadays. The church does not necessarily have to campaign for us, but they must stand against fake news... Mas marami kasi ang mga parokya kaysa sa mga (We have more parishes than) local government so the church has a leverage,” Pangilinan added.
The lawmaker emphasized that the spread of fake news has long started even before the election in order to mislead and condition the minds of the people to believe a narrative that runs counter to what is truthful.
This does not happen in politics alone, Pangilinan asserted, as this practice also goes deep down in other facets of life like religion, science, and history.
Reverend Father Ian Maniago, the parish priest of San Sebastian, agreed with Pangilinan, saying the Church is already doing its part in addressing disinformation and will continue to do so amid the backlash.
Although some parishioners react negatively when the Church reiterates its position on moral issues like stealing, Maniago said the institution will not back down because it is part of the creed to spread the word of God even if it offends sensibilities.
“Ngayon kapag nagsabi ka sa pulpito ng anything about pagnanakaw at pagsisinungaling, marami kaagad nag-rereact. Ang sa amin naman, ni-revise na nga nila iyong history pati ba naman 10 commandments gusto pa nilang i-revise (Now when you mention anything about stealing and lying at the pulpit, many are reacting. Our point is, they have already revised the history, now they also want to revise the 10 commandments)?” Maniago said in jest.
The parish priest also told Pangilinan that the endorsement of ordinary citizens, like the one in Pampanga where he was endorsed by farmers, speaks volume about his character.
Other priests from the Diocese of Iba including Fr. Jhay Em Guilleno, Fr. Oni Maniago, Fr. Omar Paris, Fr. John Arga, Fr. Arwin Yzonsa, and Fr. Dennis Astor were also present during the dialogue.
After the dialogue, the priests led a short prayer for Pangilinan and his running-mate, Vice-President Leni Robredo, inside the San Sebastian Parish.