Bishop to voters: Don’t be slaves of money politics

April 25, 2022 - 10:22 AM
People wearing face masks as protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) take part in a simulation for the 2022 Philippine election, at a polling station in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, December 29, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Maie David)

A Catholic bishop in the central Philippine diocese of Borongan has warned the electorate to be wary of candidates who conveniently resort to vote-buying.

In a pastoral letter issued Friday, Bishop Crispin Varquez condemned efforts by candidates to buy votes to ensure victory, particularly those running for national positions.

“Buying or selling votes to win an office is dishonest and defiles true democracy,” Varquez said.

The bishop equally denounced local politicians who are in cahoots with national bets to help them buy votes.

“They have become accomplices to an unspeakable crime and an evil deed that continues to cripple democracy and our dignity as a people,” he said.

The prelate then urged the voters not to exchange the country’s future and their children for money.

As Catholic Christians, he said that they “cannot be slaves to money politics” by buying or selling votes as well as to patronage politics.

“If we are to be slaves, we must be ‘slaves to God’, not to money or corrupt politics,” Varquez said.

“We must show our love of country by not allowing the unscrupulous among us to destroy not only our democracy but also our relationships and the future of our young,” he added.

The letter also outlined the qualities of leaders that voters must look for in candidates according to the Church’s teachings.

These include candidates who are “pro-God, pro-people/poor, pro-country, pro-truth, competent, pro-environment and pro-law”.

“Do not vote for candidates who do not meet these qualities, even when they offer big money,” Varquez added.

“The money they will collect later from our public funds will dwarf anything they may give you now,” he also said.