UCA News


Prelate says no such thing as 'Catholic vote'

Archbishop denies there is an official Church directive on the RH bill

Ronald O. Reyes, Tacloban City

Ronald O. Reyes, Tacloban City

Updated: November 27, 2012 08:24 PM GMT
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Prelate says no such thing as 'Catholic vote'
Share this article :

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, today said there is no such thing as a "Catholic vote" in the country.

The prelate's statement came after another Church leader urged Filipinos to use their "religious beliefs in rejecting candidates who are not following the Church’s teachings."

Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa last week called on Filipinos not to vote for candidates in next year's elections who favor the controversial reproductive health bill.

In an interview with ucanews.com, Palma, however, said the bishops' conference has no official statement on the so-called Catholic vote.

Pressed if he is going to come up with an official statement, the prelate said there is no history of "block voting."
Related News

"It’s up to the people to make their own decisions" in electing their political leaders, he said, adding that the bishops' conference will come up with "guidelines" for Catholic voters. He did not give details on the specifics of the guidelines.

The prelate said news reports "misinterpreted the statement" of Archbishop Arguelles. 

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a constitutional expert, has said the so-called Catholic vote in the Philippines is nothing but a “political myth.”

With 75.5 million members in 2011, Catholicism is the predominant religion in the country. The Philippines has the fourth largest number of Catholic citizens in the world after Brazil, Mexico and the United States. It is also one of the two predominantly Catholic countries in Asia, along with East Timor.

“If the bishops will really unite and pursue the campaign, I think we can really come up with a Catholic vote," said Bishop Martin Jumoad of Basilan. 

It is the "Church’s moral responsibility to uphold the sanctity of life,” he said, adding that the bishops will do their best "to reject or derail" the passage of the reproductive health bill by urging Catholics not to support it.

The controversial measure is still being discussed in Congress 17 years after it was proposed. The proposed law seeks to provide funds for services on sex education, family planning and other reproductive health services for women.   

Congress is set to decide on the bill before the year ends.

UCA Newsletter
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
Support UCA News
The Pontificate | Make a Contribution
Contribute and get the Mission in Asia PDF Book/e-Book Free!
Contribute and get the Mission in Asia PDF Book/e-Book Free!
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia