Press Release
March 15, 2010

Villar backs bishops' reminder to voters

Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar yesterday supported the Manila Archdiocese's reminder to the electorate to choose the right candidates on May 10.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and 15 bishops of the Manila Metropolitan Ecclesiastical Province issued a pastoral letter on Saturday that spelled out guidelines for the "kind of leaders that the electorate should be choosing."

The candidates, the bishops pointed out, should be scrutinized according to whether they are "God-fearing, moral, untainted by vices, simple and humble, reverent of life and its deserved decency."

"Filipinos, being predominantly Catholics, look to the bishops for guidance. The character traits that the bishops pointed out are really essential qualities that leaders of the country should possess. These are fair guidelines or criteria for any elected office," said Villar.

The bishops further cited that voters should vote for candidates who care for the poor or are "consistent true friends of the poor."

"Kahirapan ang pinakamalaking problema natin, 90 porsiyento ng ating mga kababayan ay nakakaranas ng kahirapan. Kaya ito dapat ang pagtuunan ng pansin ng sinumang mamumuno sa ating bansa (Poverty is our biggest problem, 90 percent of our fellow Filipinos experience poverty. That is why, whoever will lead the country should focus on this)," said Villar, whose platform of government is centered on poverty alleviation.

The latest pastoral letter was read in all parishes and churches of the Archdiocese of Manila and Dioceses that make up the Ecclesiastical Province of Metropolitan Manila.

The bishops also reminded voters to be wary of candidates who spend too much, which according to Villar is a fair warning considering that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has issued guidelines setting spending limits.

"Sumasang-ayon din naman ako. At talagang mayroon tayong mga batas sa pag-gastos at talaga namang dapat sundin yan. Ako'y sumasang-ayon dyan. Walang sinumang kandidato ang dapat lalabag sa batas sa pag-gastos (I agree because there are rules on campaign spending that must be followed. All candidates should follow these rules)," added Villar.

The pastoral letter was signed by other bishops belonging to the Ecclesiastical Province of Metro Manila. They included Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, Imus Bishop Luis Tagle, Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros, Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias, Parañaque Bishop Jesse Mercado, Pasig Bishop Francisco San Diego, San Pablo Bishop Leo Drona, Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo, Taytay Bishop Edgardo Juanich, Military Ordinary Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak, Antipolo Auxiliary Bishop Francisco De Leon, and Auxiliary Bishops of Manila Bernardino Cortez and Broderick Pabillo.

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