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Bishops say they have no election favorites

Lunch for anti-RH Bill lawmakers was not an endorsement reporter, Manila

January 28, 2013

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The country's Catholic bishops today said they will not be endorsing any candidates for this May’s mid-term elections, even those who joined the bishops in opposing the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill.

The statement follows a lunch yesterday for the anti-RH Bill lawmakers hosted by the bishops at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila, where Church leaders are currently holding their annual plenary assembly.

Monsignor Joselito Asis, secretary general of the Bishops' Conference, said the occasion should not be seen as an endorsement by the bishops for any election candidate. "[The meeting was] just to show our appreciation to the legislators,” he said in an interview.

"We are offering this luncheon in appreciation for what they have done," added Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, the Bishops' Conference president. He said the anti-RH Bill lawmakers who voted against its passage into law last month were motivated by “their great love for the country and what the values mean to them."

Palma emphasized that the bishops are not endorsing any candidate this May. He said the role of bishops is simply to give guidelines to the faithful on what kind of candidate they should vote for.

“We are not in any way partisan,” he said. “We do not tell the whole world how to vote or name people who are the right ones to vote for.”

He added: “We trust in the discernment of the people to choose by themselves, believing that they know how.” 

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