Pangilinan: For first time in PH Catholic Church history, priests openly support candidates Leni-Kiko

Pangilinan: For first time in PH Catholic Church history, priests openly support candidates Leni-Kiko

For the first time in the history of the Philippine Catholic Church, priests openly support the presidential candidacy of Vice-President Leni Robredo and her running-mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan.

Calling themselves the Clergy for Moral Choice, a total of 1,043 priests, including 976 priests, 56 deacons, and 11 bishops, signed the manifesto expressing their support in Robredo and Pangilinan’s bid to lead the nation.

“Sila ang tingin namin ang pinakamabubuting kandidato,” according to the manifesto read at the San Pablo Apostol Parish at the harbor district of Manila.

Describing Robredo and Pangilinan as destined (“tinadhana”) to run for the highest post and having the spirit, grace, humility, honesty and knowledge (“ispiritu, grasya, kababaang loob, katapatan at karunungan”), the priests pleaded (“lumuluhod at nagmamakaawa”) for their victory during the pray-over.

In response, Pangilinan said he feels that over the decades of his public service since his student activist days, nothing happens by accident. “May isang design sa mas mataas na larangan,” he said.

Addressing the crowd of about 30 priests and hundreds of supporters, Robredo thanked the priests for the trust and for the realization that elections are important.

“Alam niyo kung gaano kahirap ang eleksyon. Extraordinary ang eleksyong ito, hindi lang sa pinagpipilian natin, kundi kung ano ang gusto natin mangyari sa susunod na anim na taon,” she said.

“Sa pahayag niyong ito, sinasabi niyo na ang kaparian ay Pilipino din na nagdedesisyon na lumahok sa pagsalba sa bayan,” she added, noting that the priests’ difficult path seems to be part of their moral obligation.

Robredo agreed with Pangilinan that what is happening — the happiest people’s campaign — is “by God’s design,” recalling that they did not intend to run for the top two highest posts of the land.

All through the years in politics, a lesson that has struck her is that, “Kung mabuti ang hangarin, gawin ang lahat, at Diyos na bahala sa susunod.” While the fight is difficult, she said she believes that God grants one’s wishes when you have reached the “state of grace.”

As she celebrates her birthday on Saturday, Robredo requests supporters to focus on the campaign and not engage trolls from opposing camps.

May pakiusap ako sa 16 days na lang bago magtapos ang kampanya sa May 7: Maraming ingay. Focus tayo sa laban natin. Huwag makipag-away,” she advised supporters, asking them to practice radical love.

“Ang kalaban natin, hindi ang kapwa Pilipino, kundi ang kasamaan. Huwag gamitin ang inis, galit, at pagkapikon. Huwag magpadala sa emosyon. Pinaglalaban natin ay hindi ako kundi ang ating bayan,” she added.

The crowd burst into a birthday song as the event ended.

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