The social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said “it will exercise principled cooperation” with the incoming administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte.
“We will, as always, exercise principled cooperation with the government,” read a statement released by Caritas Philippines on Thursday, May 26.
“As such, we will support all [Marcos] administration’s programs that will respect the rights and dignity of the Filipino people,” read the organization’s statement.
The humanitarian, development, and advocacy arm of the Catholic Church in the country was created by the bishops’ conference in 1966 and was mandated to “accompany the poor and marginalized in the just and legitimate struggle for social justice and transformation.”
As it congratulated Marcos and Duterte, Caritas Philippines urged the country’s new leaders to “honor the rule of law and history, and make government more accountable to its people.”
“With our post-election accountability program, we will hold [Marcos] and all elected officials liable of all their election promises,” said the group.
“In all that is to come, we pray that his administration will be guided by justice, inspired by the people who elected him, and fueled by true patriotism,” it added.
Meanwhile, Divine Word missionary priest Flaviano “Flavie” Villanueva, who is known for his work with the homeless and with the families of victims of extrajudicial killings in the country, said the election of Marcos and Duterte is “painful” and “tragic.”
“Human rights and defending human rights has become a tiring endeavor, especially when those you’re defending choose to elect the very person who persecutes them,” said the priest.
“Thus, the call now is to educate and empower the ‘MOST’ — marginalized, oppressed, suffering and tormented.” added the priest in a message sent to LiCAS News.
“In educating, we combat ignorance. And true empowerment follows,” he added.
The ecumenical youth group Student Christian Movement of the Philippines said the incoming administration “is nothing but a vile continuation of tyrannical and oppressive regimes that are the apex of dirty politics in the Philippines.”
“Objectively, the Philippines got poorer and worse under the rules of Marcos Sr. and Rodrigo Duterte,” said Kej Andres, national spokesperson of the organization. “No amount of historical distortion can sweep the horrors of martial law of Marcos and the failed pandemic response of Duterte,” he added.
He warned that “massive disinformation and historical distortion will only worsen” under a Marcos-Duterte administration.
Marcos Jr. was proclaimed the next Philippine president after a landslide win in elections that rights groups and religious leaders fear could weaken the corruption-prone country’s fragile democracy.
Marcos Jr., who formally takes office next month, secured more than 31.6 million votes, or 58.8 percent of the total, according to a final tally released by parliament.
He was the first presidential candidate to win an outright majority since his dictator father, who presided over widespread graft and human rights abuses, was ousted by a popular revolt in 1986.
In the Philippines, the winner only has to get more votes than anyone else.
“I hereby proclaim Ferdinand Bongbong Romualdez Marcos Jr as the duly elected president of the Republic of the Philippines,” House of Representatives Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said, after legislators approved a report declaring Marcos the winner.
Marcos’s victory followed relentless online whitewashing of his family’s past, and alliances with rival political dynasties who have the means to influence voters in their regions.
His main rival Leni Robredo finished well behind in second place with just over 15 million votes.
A joint session of the House of Representatives and Senate formally ratified the results and proclaimed Marcos the Philippines’ 17th president. He will be inaugurated on June 30.
His running mate Sara Duterte, the daughter of the outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, was also proclaimed the winner of the vice presidential race.
Marcos has so far given few clues about how he will govern the poverty-plagued country of 110 million people.
On the campaign trail he avoided difficult questions by shunning televised debates with rivals and largely avoiding media interviews.
Marcos’s admiration for his father, whose regime he has portrayed as a golden era for the Philippines, has raised fears among human rights groups that he may seek to rule like him. – with a report from Agence France Presse