EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE PHILIPPINES
A PASTORAL LETTER
ON THE GENERAL ELECTIONS OF MAY 9
As the May 9, 2016 General Election quickly approaches, we call upon the faithful of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines to fulfill their duty and moral obligation to cast their votes. Indeed, to participate in the democratic processes available to us as citizens of this country and nation is a matter that is relevant to our being a Christian and is relevant to the Gospel itself. We should, by this time, have properly educated ourselves so that we can thoughtfully and prayerfully cast our vote – thinking ultimately not of our own interests but of the interests of the local community and the nation as a whole.
One, therefore, does not simply go to the polls to cast a vote. Be sure that whoever you are voting for, you are voting for the right reason/s. Furthermore, voting must also be accompanied by taking steps to ensure that the voting process actually works. Participate in groups that have been accredited to ensure that your votes are accurately counted. Be vigilant even after the winners are proclaimed – hold those elected responsible for fulfilling their campaign promises; make them accountable to the public and ensure that they fulfil the responsibilities of the position to which they have been elected. For “when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2)
Let me end this letter by paraphrasing from Exodus 18:21 – “You shall select from out of all the people able persons who fear God, persons of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.” Let me add that we should look for those who have a clear vision of the future and shall strive to fulfil Isaiah 65:21 – “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days. For the youth will die at the age of one hundred. … They will build houses and inhabit them. They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They will not build and another inhabit. They will not plant and another eat. For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people. And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.”
On the 9th of May, therefore, go to your polling precinct. VOTE for those candidates who you believe, in the deepest recesses of your conscience, deserve your vote.
For the ECP Council of Bishops,
THE MOST REV. RENATO ABIBICO
Episcopal Church in the Philippines