CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said that the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines advocates for 'circles of discernment' – or discussion groups – so that voters can collectively choose and share their suggestions and opinions.
Ledesma, who celebrated his 76th birthday on Thursday, March 28, said people should engage in principled partisan politics.
“They should not only stay neutral, though PPCRV should stay neutral, but there are many other lay Catholics that should really be encouraged to be partisan but with principles. And to also campaign for the right candidates,” Ledesma said.
Ledesma added that this is part of the 3 directives – to choose and vote your candidates who will be working for the common good.
Ledesma also urged the voters to look for the 5Cs in choosing their candidates.
“What we are saying is that wether local or national candidates, that first, they should be a person of Conscience. What that means is that the person should have moral integrity, transparency, they protect human rights and pro-life and God-loving,” Ledesma said.
The 2nd C is Competent. “They should have educational background. They have a record of public service. And they are also healthy in terms of their physical, mental, and emotional health,” Ledesma said.
“The 3rd C is that they should be person of Compassion. That they have options for the poor and the marginalized to protect minorities and to work for social justice. These are all measures to rectify the social injustices in society,” Ledesma said.
The 4th C is Companion. “You also have to look for who are the supporters of the candidates. Who are their supporters? Political alliance or are the members of a political dynasty, because that's what is sad today,” Ledesma said.
Ledesma added that many of the politicians today are members of political dynasties. “That means there is no longer a check and balance. You have the mayor, vice mayor and even congressmen from one family. So there is no more check and balance, but more on family interests,” Ledesma said.
The 5th C is Commitment. “Are the candidates principled? They can stand for what they are standing for? Like issues on protecting our environment, protecting our national sovereignty like China? Issues like Agrarian Reforms or peace negotiations. Working for peace is also a basic issue in our country today,”Ledesma said.
Ledesma said that these 5 Cs are the criteria for choosing the right candidates “And we hope that they can also be used by anyone,” Ledesama said.
Ledesma also added that people should have the true freedom to choose their candidates. – Rappler.com