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Election comes with responsibilities cardinal says

MANILA (Agencies): Before the Philippine electorate took to the polls on May 9 to elect Rodrigo Duterte as the country’s next president, Luis Cardinal Antonio Tagle delivered a message on servant leadership to the candidates for national positions during a Mass at the Manila Cathedral on May 2.

Of the five presidential candidates, only outgoing vice-president, Jejomar Binay, and administration bet, Mar Roxas, were present during the event. 

No vice-presidential candidates were in attendance, although Liberal Party aspirant, Leni Robredo, sent a representative. 

“We would have preferred their physical presence, as this would show their solidarity with the moral position of the Church for this coming election,” Radio Veritas president Father Anton Pascual told CBCP News

In his homily before the candidates’ signed the Truthful, Responsible, Upright, Transparent, and Honest (TRUTH) covenant for the elections, Cardinal Tagle said the election of any candidate carries with it a great deal of responsibility more than victory, according to a report of the CBCP News.

“In being candidates, you need to know that it is a blessing that comes with a responsibility. If you win, it means you must represent the people’s dreams and common good,” the cardinal stressed.

“You are blessed but you have a great responsibility. Blessings cannot come without responsibilities. They go hand-in-hand,” he said, urging those who would be the country’s next leaders to do everything in their power over the next six years to live up to those responsibilities; building better and safer communities in the country.

Cardinal Tagle urged the presidential and senatorial candidates present to evaluate what the real needs of the people are, saying that assessing the needs of people refers to what will be good for majority of Filipinos, and not just their allies.

“The candidates also need to study. Study what are the real needs of the people that voted for him. That will go beyond party politics because we are already talking about common good,” the cardinal said.

He also told CBCP News that because of the blessing of democracy, the voice of the people can be heard on how they want society to be shaped.

“Let us not waste this blessing… participation in forging the destiny of our country,” Cardinal Tagle said.

The cardinal reiterated the Church’s position of not endorsing any candidate as a way to show respect for the capacity of every person to choose their leaders based on their own conscience.

Seventeen senatorial contenders also attended the signing of the covenant for clean polls, including, Martin Romualdez, Roman Romulo, Tito Sotto and Susan Ople, among others.

Father Pascua revealed that all 66 candidates had been invited, but many were unavailable due to their scheduled campaign activities.

“Basically, in spirit, those who are not here also support this TRUTH Covenant of the Church,” he said.

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