(PN file photo)

The Catholic church in northern Palawan on Friday declared its “full support” to its laity group’s decision to actively campaign for presidential candidate Leni Robredo, but stopped short of making a direct endorsement.

Bishop Broderick Pabillio, prelate of the Apostolic Vicareate of Taytay (AVT), said he had given his support to the Sangguniang Layko ng Apostoliko Bikaryato ng Taytay following its decision to campaign for Robredo.

“That is their choice and they need to be supported after undergoing their discernment,” Pabillo told Palawan News in a text message.

He clarified, however, that it will be “not the AVT but the laypeople” who will be involved in the campaign.

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The laity group wrote a letter to Pabillo on February 25 seeking the church’s approval of their decision to actively campaign for Robredo and her entire ticket, stating that they came to a decision following a series of internal “discernment” activities that took place between December 11 and 26 in 2021, January 14, 24, 30, and February 25.

The laity said their decision was preceded by a series of discussions, conversations, and surveys among key individuals and leaders from the chapel and parishes, which were all part of their “discernment process”.

Vice President Leni Robredo was endorsed as president, while Sen. Kiko Pangilinan for vice president. The 11 senators written in order are Teddy Baguilat, Leila De Lima, Chel Diokno, Risa Hontiveros, Alex Lacson, Sonny Matula, Antonio Trillanes IV, Neri Colmenares, Dick Gordon, Samira Gutoc, and Joel Villanueva. The lay group listed BUHAY as its party-list.

“We believe that this period in Philippine history is crucial and that our collective effort to carefully discern and select our leaders is the key to healing our ailing nation. The Catholic faith must come together and ‘vote with God’ in our hearts and minds,” the group noted.

“We have the duty to assess our candidates diligently, free from pressure, and see if they sufficiently meet our standards,” it added.

Lawyer Jun Quicho, one of the convenors of the Palaweños for Leni and Kiko 2022 people movement in the province, said that they are also backing the campaign of the Sangguniang Layko ng Apostoliko Bikaryato ng Taytay as one its members.

Quicho said they helped the Sangguniang Layko ng Apostoliko Bikaryato ng Taytay in presenting the results of its discernment process to Pabillo on March 5.

“And knowing of course that they will be endorsing the whole TROPA (Team Robredo-Pangilinan), plus some other senatoriables, we called for a quick meeting so we might be able to help them hit the ground running as soon as they get the formal blessing of the good Bishop,” he said.

“It is our hope that the Church will be with us in convincing the people to vote conscientiously, that is, to put into leadership positions leaders who can lead us towards a state of affairs where our hopes and aspirations for an honest, efficient and compassionate government can be a reality,” he added.

Palawan News reached out to the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa (AVPP), which covers the southern half of Palawan as its jurisdiction, to determine its stance on the coming elections, and was told by insiders that the church has not made a similar decision.

The AVPP had taken a neutral stance in the previous polling exercises in Palawan, aligning itself instead with the church-based watchdog People’s Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) that focuses on voter education campaigns and election day monitoring.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.