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Philippine bishops warn priests against running for office

MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Buenaventura Famadico of San Pablo, head of the Episcopal Commission on Clergy warned priests against seeking public office after candidates began filing their intention to run in the May 2019 mid-term elections.
The period to file certificates of candidacy ran from October 11 to 17.
“Let us leave the task of serving in government to the laity because if we do that it is as if we have failed in our task,” the bishop said, stressing, that the task of a priest is “to spread God’s word and guide the faithful.”
The Commission on Elections says that 61 million Filipinos will be eligible to vote in next year’s polls when they choose senators, congressmen and local leaders.
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, said he would not allow any member of the clergy in his diocese to run.
“I am definitely against it, and never will I allow any of my priests to run for office,” he said, adding that a priest “cannot serve two masters.”
Bishop Santos said, “As priests, we are already serving the people, and we serve without any perks, privileges or personal interests. Priests are for and only for God.” 
He said priests who run for public office betray their “divine calling.”
Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, said Church laws do not allow priests to enter politics. “It is against Canon Law,” he said.
In the past, there were priests who ran and won elections, but they either left the priesthood or were suspended from priestly duties.
Meanwhile Father Jerome Secillano, of the public affairs committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, reminded candidates who plan to go to Church before filing their candidacy to respect it as a house of worship.
The Commission on Elections office in Manila is right across from Manila Cathedral where candidates usually go to pray before filing their candidacy.
“Don’t go there as if you are attending a political rally because a church is a place for prayer,” he said 
He also appealed to candidates to respect church premises by not displaying campaign banners outside them.

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