ucanews.com reporter, ManilaUpdated: October 24, 2018 03:53 AM GMT
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, head of the Commission on the Laity of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. (Photo by Angie de Silva)
A Catholic bishop in Manila has warned Filipino voters not to succumb to dirty politics and politicians in next year's mid-term elections.
He said the country's political system has deteriorated because of "traditional politicians" and dynasties.
"Political dynasties thrive because we vote for them," said Bishop Pabillo, adding that he is "dismayed" by seeing the same old faces of those seeking elected positions.
"We see old faces, the traditional politicians. I cannot believe it. Look at how thick faced our politicians can be. Even those with very strong criminal cases filed against them run," said the prelate.
"Do these people really have the interests of people at heart? I strongly doubt that," he said.
Bishop Pabillo said many are running because of the "lure of the profitability" of being in public office. "They are already blinded," he said.
He urged voters to check the background of "unknown candidates" who may "give fresh breath to politics in our country."
On Oct. 17, the Commission on Elections ended the candidacy registration period with 152 senatorial candidates and 185 party-list candidates registered for the May 2019 polls.
Bishop Pabillo said Filipinos have more than six months to decide who to choose next year, saying that "not all candidates are worthless."
"There are gems within the pile of dirt. We just have to cull them," said the prelate.
"It is not what they say they will do that show their worth, but what they have done," he added.
The bishop also called on voters not to "blindly" vote along party lines and for someone who is "winnable" according to survey results, name recall, or social media entries.
He said people should not "waste" their vote.
"By voting for a bad person because he is winnable, you are being an accomplice in destroying our country," he said.
To help voters discern, Bishop Pabillo said there are certain criteria that can be used "to sift the good from the worthless."
"Look at their personal lives. What a person is, that will be what he will do. If a person is not faithful to his commitment to his wife, will he be faithful to his office?" said the bishop.
"If a person is a gambler, he will gamble his office. If a person is dirty in his speech and his views, he will be dirty as a public official," said Bishop Pabillo.
He said elections give people hope that there can be a better future, but added that it will only come about "if we become better voters."