MANILA, April 9, 2013— Poll watchers who campaign for certain candidates should distance themselves from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).
PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa said it is the prudent thing to do for volunteers and groups affiliated with them so as not to tarnish their non-partisan stance.
“Once they show partisanship, they should take a leave from PPCRV,” de Villa said during a forum on Tuesday.
This was the PPCRV head’s response to concerns that some dioceses linked with the church-based poll watchdog openly backed candidates in the May 13 elections.
Some dioceses have put up “Team Patay/Team Buhay” tarpaulins to inform the faithful which candidates supported or opposed the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) law.
However, de Villa said they could not force or order a particular bishop to leave the PPCRV.
“That’s their decision. I cannot tell them to be prudent… it’s up to them to decide. In our case, we go on as usual. Our people on the ground are still continuing their work,” she said.
“We don’t force anybody here. This is voluntary. Anybody can leave the PPCRV anytime if they wish to do some other works,” according to her.
In fact, she added, some priests and parishes already cut ties with them for different reasons.
She also assured that the posters do not affect the PPCRV, an accredited citizen’s arm of the Commission on Elections, since the group is non-partisan.
“Our voter’s education is non-partisan… meaning we are not imposing on people who to vote or not to vote for but value-based,” de Villa said. (Roy Lagarde)