Catholic bishops in the Philippines have urged voters to reject “notoriously corrupt" politicians running in next year’s national elections.
In a pastoral letter read at Masses on Sunday the bishops reminded parishioners that voting was not merely a political right, but “a moral obligation", reported the Asian Catholic news portal ucanews.com.
“While politicians plan and strategise [and] find ways of circumventing the law against premature campaigning, the Church cannot be remiss in its obligation of forming the consciences of Catholic and Christian voters," the bishops said in the letter, which was signed by Archbishop Socrates Villegas Lingayen-Dagupan, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
The letter called on the public to “vote for the right reasons … not because you have been paid … but because you trust a person to lead the community and to lead the country".
The bishops also urged voters to end political dynasties by not voting for candidates from the same family who want to perpetuate their family’s hold on public office.
“There is no monopoly on ability for government, and truly no one in government is indispensable," they said.
The letter cited criticisms that previous Church efforts to educate voters had come too late to be effective. “It may never be again said that we spoke too late," the bishops said.