BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Twenty-seven Catholic Lay Organizations under the Diocese of Bacolod have pledged their support for the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo and her running mate, Senator Francis Pangilinan.
In a manifesto of support signed by representatives of the 27 lay organizations of the Diocese of Bacolod, it said that they have decided to extend their support to the Leni-Kiko tandem after several meetings and undergoing a discernment process.
This came also after the Clergy for the Moral Choice, composed of 1,000 priests and faithful all over the country issued an earlier statement endorsing the entire tandem of Robredo and Pangilinan.
It said that Robredo and Pangilinan are God fearing candidates, who value the Filipino family, are servant leaders, care for the poor, prudent, environmentalists, truthful and trustworthy.
We are in extraordinary times, the group said that results of the elections will determine what will happen to the country and its future.
Thus, our votes will speak choices for the national and local positions, which will be crucial in deciding our fate as a sovereign and democratic country under the rule of law and the regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality and peace.
Former Gov. Rafael Coscolluela, who chairs the Robredo People’s Council in Negros Occidental, yesterday described as “very unusual” the declaration of support to the Leni-Kiko tandem. “This is the first time ever done by lay organizations, who had usually adopted their non-partisan position (during elections)”, Coscolluela said.
But I think they realized that “it is time to make a stand,” not for a particular candidate, but for the country, he added.
Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon earlier said that priests could have their personal choices in the elections as long as they remain non-partisan.
“As citizens, we all have our own choices and nobody can stop us. However, it is very clear that the Church cannot be partisan. All of the candidates are part of our flock and if we are partisan, we divide the flock,” Buzon said.
Coscolluela said that the stand of Catholic Lay Organizations will definitely send a very strong signal to the Diocese.
The initiative of lay organizations “I think constitutes heavy pressure on the bishop to also make a stand.” Although we respect his position if he remains neutral, but deep in his heart, I also know who the bishop is in favor,” he added.
Among the signatories were Friends of the Divine Mercy Missionaries (FDDM), Ang Dios Gugma, Divine Mercy Philippines, Apostolate of Divine Mercy, Teresina Association, Couples for Christ- Global, Adorers of the Holy Trinity, Barangay Sang Virgen, Legion of Mary, Catholic Women’s League, Good Shepherd’s Catholic Covenanted Community, Neo-Catechumenate, Casa Maria Prayer Community, Cofradia del Sto. Nino de Cebu;
Bukas Loob sa Diyos (BLD), Couple’s for Christ- GK, Apostleship of Prayer, Damas de la Caridad, Daughters of Mary Immaculate, Guardias de Honore de Maria, Focolare Movement, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, Mother Butler Mission Guild, BCBP North, Sto. Niño Devotees and Knights of Columbus.*