An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Philippines (CBCP) said on Oct. 15 that the Catholic Church, as an institution, cannot endorse any candidate for the 2022 elections.

However, Catholics may have individual choices whom they may endorse in their personal capacities, said Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP public affairs committee.

“[I]f a priest is going to support a particular candidate, we’ll that is his personal choice, he can do that, as a citizen,” Secillano said in a news conference.

“But then, the other distinction is the Church as an institution, should not actually do that. The Church should not support any candidate or political party as an institution,” he added.

Secillano however said the Church could help educate voters on human dignity, the common good, and solidarity.
“It is the lay people who should mobilize, not priests,” he said.

The CBCP official cited the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting or PPCRV as an example of Church people’s active involvement in the electoral process.

Lay people participate in elections by “[serving] as poll watchers, organizing meetings with all candidates and making them sign a pledge [of accountability],” he said.

Secillano also said there is no such thing as a Catholic vote.

“Democracy is exercised in the Church,” he said, adding that Catholics are free to vote for any candidate.

Secillano said the CBCP might issue an official statement on the elections during its plenary assembly in January 2022.

“It is very possible that they (bishops) are going to have a pastoral letter regarding the elections. I am very sure that it will be a call for a peaceful and honest election,” he said.

Filipinos will go to the polling booths on May 9, 2022 to elect national and local officials, including the president, vice president, and lawmakers. Franz Joseph Dizon