MANILA, April 2, 2013— One of the country’s largest Catholic archdioceses has ended its ties with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, the official citizen’s arm of the Commission on Elections.
Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, however, said the archdiocese will still work for credible and orderly elections in Batangas province this coming May 13 elections.
While cutting their ties with the PPCRV, the archbishop clarified that it does not mean that they prefer working with the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections over the church-based poll watchdog.
“On April 1, the clergy of Lipa decided to sever its link with the PPCRV. The archdiocese also declares it does not work with NAMFREL,” Arguelles said in a statement Tuesday.
“We are however committed to work even harder to ensure honest, peaceful, credible and meaningful elections in Batangas province and work for good governance thereafter,” he added.
The archbishop did not elaborate the reasons for dropping its support to the PPCRV headed by Henrietta de Villa, former Philippine ambassador to the Vatican.
The archdiocese’s move came two weeks after the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines also ended its partnership with the PPCRV and backed NAMFREL instead.
But the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) said it would be up to the local bishops to decide whether to follow their lead or continue their support with the PPCRV.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Nassa chairman, said the reason why they dropped PPCRV is due to its refusal to coordinate with them.
“There were several attempts made to convene the citizens’ arms to discuss coordination agreement, but the Church-based group of election volunteers did not participate,” Pabillo earlier said.
Both PPCRV and NAMFREL were accredited by the Comelec as its citizen’s arm for the May midterm elections. (Roy Lagarde)