Bishops gather in plenary assembly at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila, Jan. 26. ROY LAGARDE

Catholic bishops urged voters to preserve checks and balances in government by electing ‘principled’ candidates this coming midterm elections.

In a pastoral letter issued on Monday after their plenary assembly in Manila, the bishops stressed the need for such system that restrain not only government but those who run it.

It is “crucial”, they said, because the checks and balances in the government today are being “undermined”.

“We encourage voters to be more discerning in their votes,” reads part of the statement.

According to them, the Senate is the only government institution so far that is holding out as the country is inching towards “total control”.

“It is very crucial therefore that we elect public officials who are principled, courageous and who have the common good as their main concern and not their own political interests,” they said.

As a concrete step, the bishops encouraged lay groups to engage in “discernment circles” to know the candidates well.

They also urged lay people to participate actively in politics and work for the renewal of the country’s political system.

“Christians are also encouraged to engage in principled partisan politics. This means that they can campaign for good candidates as an exercise of their Christian faith,” the bishop said. (RoyLagarde/CBCPnews)