MANILA, April 5, 2016— The election is not a popularity contest, said a Catholic archbishop from a vote-rich ardiocese, as he asked voters not to be influenced by pre-election survey results.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan urged voters to “be careful” and choose candidates according to their conscience, saying they are called “to take courage and make moral decisions.”
“Do not choose depending on who is topping or trailing in the surveys,” Villegas said.
“You are called to take courage and make moral decisions. Your vote can make heaven come down and make our country beautiful and good as God desires it,” he said.
The appeal is contained in a pastoral statement issued by the archdiocese on Sunday, which calls on the faithful to heed the Ten Commandments when they cast their ballots in May.
The election guideline will be read in all the parish churches in Pangasinan after Sunday Masses until the eve of election day.
“Be free from the tyranny and pressure of trends and herds. Do it right! Choose what is right according to the Ten Commandments,” stressed Villegas.
He urged voters to assess the worthiness of the candidates seeking national and local positions in the light of the Ten Commandments.
The prelate said voters must be mindful of “our mistakes in the past” by not electing “thieves of government coffers, murderers of the opposition and billionaires from public funds.”
“More than intelligence, we need God-fearing leaders who are also bravely and stubbornly loyal to the flag and to the people,” added.Villegas.
“The great need of our time is leadership with vision. We need inspired and inspiring leaders who can rally the nation beyond the horizon of our dreams,” he said.
Villegas also said the country’s next president and national leaders should “act and live honorably” and to be “excellent role models for the youth and prime examples for all public servants.”
Pangasinan is the third vote-rich province in the country with 1.7 million registered voters, behind Cebu and Cavite. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)