Kidapawan diocese eyes poll guidelines for voters

TULUNAN, North Cotabato (MindaNews/12 April) –Priests under the Diocese of Kidapawan are set to convene Monday to craft  guiding principles for its parishioners in choosing the right candidates this coming national mid-term and local elections.

Bishop Romulo dela Cruz told MindaNews that he will convene the priests on Monday and consult them if they should release a pastoral letter that would guide voters in choosing candidates for the May 13, 2013 elections.

Dela Cruz said they have been encouraging the lay people to promote “pro-God, pro-life and pro-marriage” candidates, especially on the national level.

“Mag decide pa kami kung pagawa (We will decide if we will craft a) pastoral letter along those lines but not necessarily about “Team Patay, Team Buhay.” Ma-giyahan  ang mga tao kung kinsa ila botohon (To guide the people whom to vote),” said the bishop.

At the porch of the San Ramon Nonato chapel here, two tarpaulins have been posted bearing the names of senatorial candidates and party-list groups, divided into two sets: Pabor sa Kinabuhi (for life) and Kontra sa Kinabuhi (against life).

The list refers to candidates who are pro- and anti-reproductive health (RH) law.

The listing on tarpaulin, initiated by a Catholic church in Bacolod,  labeled under “Team Patay”  senatorial candidates Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Teddy Casiño and Jack Enrile, including party-list groups Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Akbayan and Anak Pawis.

Joseph Victor Ejercito-Estrada, Antonio Trillanes, Gregorio Honasan, Mitos Magsaysay, Koko Pimentel and Cynthia Villar were listed under “Team Buhay” or the anti-RH law.

At the bottom of the tarpaulin is the statement: “My vote is not for sale.”

Dela Cruz said the diocese has no official stand yet on the list, but added that the placing of the posters is an initiative of local lay workers.

Fr. Jun Lapas, parish priest here, told MindaNews that the poster drive was the initiative of local church workers, noting that they placed the same posters in three other chapels.

Lapas said they have not yet identified the local candidates who should belong to either the “Pabor sa Kinabuhi” and”Kontra sa Kinabuhi” lists. (Keith Bacongco / Mindanews)