CEBU City, August 29, 2014—Cebu Archbishop José Palma is confident the Filipino people will counter any plans by the administration to suspend the national elections in 2016.
Palma, who formerly headed the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), believes Filipinos highly value their right to vote.
“As a democracy-loving people, and as a people who would like to believe our votes are important in the growth of democracy in general, no great number of people will wish there will be no elections,” the prelate told Radyo Veritas.
Palma said he is looking forward to the upcoming elections and trusts in the voting public’s capacity to vote the right people into office.
The prelate expresses his solidarity with CBCP in denouncing proposals to amend provisions of the 1987 Constitution aiming to extend President Aquino (PNoy)’s term in office.
“Our CBCP president [Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas] had already made a statement, but of course I for one and many other bishops echo that statement,” said Palma.
Along with former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the Cebu archbishop on August 23, Saturday, presided over the multi-sectoral “Peoples Initiative Against Pork Barrel” (PIAP) in Cebú City, which seeks to pass a law criminalizing a fund they criticize for being at the root of corruption in the Philippines.
The signature drive held in the city was able to collect as many as 5,000 signatures.
In a pastoral letter issued August 11, Palma explained his reason for supporting PIAP.
The document reads, “Since most legislators are not willing to legislate to abolish all pork barrel as a system, then, the time has come to use the remedy enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.”
It explains that the sovereign people themselves have the legal and Constitutional power to craft a law that will truly express the will of the people. (Raymond A. Sebastián)