A group of Catholic priests, nuns, seminarians, and religious people in the Philippines has joined the growing number of religious groups that have endorsed the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo and her running mate Kiko Pangilinan in this year’s national elections.
“All things considered, among the candidates who have laid out their political platforms and applied for the highest and the second highest posts of the land, we adjudge that it is [Robredo] and [Pangilinan] who best fit the job,” read a statement from the group “Pari Madre Misyonero Para Kay Leni,” or “Priests, Nuns, Missionaries for Leni.”
“With this, we express our full support for their candidacy in the upcoming national elections,” it added.
The group, which claimed to have at least 500 members, is the latest religious organization to express support for Robredo and Pangilinan.
Earlier, leaders of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and the Council of the Laity of the Philippines announced their endorsement of the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem.
Another lay Catholic group, the Ligaya ng Panginoon (Joy of the Lord), also endorsed Robredo, citing her “advocacy for the marginalized and the vulnerable.”
“Our future depends on the results of the coming elections,” said the group in a statement released last week.
“As Christians, we cannot be silent in the face of systematic and continuing historical revisionism,” it added.
The group of priests, nuns, and religious said they came up with their decision “after much prayer, discernment, scrutiny, discussion, and consultation with the grassroots of various sectors and local communities.”
They said the “arrived at three essential qualities every leader of the country should possess.”
- Moral ascendancy and aptitude to lead the country
- Respect of the basic human rights and a resolve for universal equality
- Patriotism for the Philippine nation, ensuring the greater interest of its citizens
Among those who signed the group’s statement are former education secretary Brother Armin Luistro and activist priest Father Amado Picardal.
Mike Velarde, leader of the Catholic charismatic group El Shaddai, meanwhile, expressed support for the candidacy of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani Jr., El Shaddai’s spiritual adviser, said the endorsement was the personal initiative of the group’s leader, Mike Velarde, and was not cleared with the group’s elders.