Looking back at this event, I wish to reiterate the teaching of the Church on our role as Catholic Voters. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2240, the Church teaches that “Catholics have a moral obligation to promote the common good through the exercise of their voting privileges.” This means that citizens should participate in the political process at the ballot box. The Church also teaches us that we need to vote according to the dictates of “conscience…to follow what he knows to be just and right” (CCC no. 1778).
There are several observations that I wish to underline since they involve some aspect of the Catholic Teaching on faith and morals mentioned above:
- There was the prevalence of vote buying and vote selling during the elections. We have seen long queues of people waiting for dole outs from candidates. There are even instances when those who are buying votes would knock at the gates and doors of houses in order to buy the votes of the residents therein. It seems that people’s votes are for sale. It seems that the sole determinant of whom to vote is the amount of money that they are willing to shell out.
- The hype about obtaining the results of the elections in a matter of hours due to the automation of our national and local elections proved to be just plain words due to the fact that the PCOS machines failed in some instances. These delayed further the transmission of the election results. The Filipino people paid for these expensive machines and the people did not receive the desired results. Surely, some people need to admit culpability in this regard.
- The spirit of Volunteerism and Cooperation was also made manifest during this event by our numerous PPCRV Volunteers, BEI’s, law enforcement officers and Comelec Officials who tried their very best to have a peaceful and orderly elections.
- There is a need for us to be vigilant so that a repeat of the negative realties in the political process will not happen especially that we prepare for the Barangay Elections in the later part of this year and the National and Local Elections in 2016. We need to keep watch so that those who seek to manipulate the results of the elections by using gold, guns and goons will not succeed in their schemes.
- Let us also pray so that those elected to public offices by the people will truly serve the common good and learn to give up their own ambitions and selfish interests.
Rest assured of my prayers for all of you as we strive together and work for the betterment of our beloved country in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.
Most Rev. Gilbert A. Garcera, D.D.
Bishop of Daet
June 21, 2013