Manila (Agenzia Fides) - The Catholic faithful in the Philippines entrust the nation to Mary and join together spiritually to pray the Rosary on the occasion of the national and local elections on May 9. In a pastoral statement issued by the Bishops of the ecclesiastical region of Manila, Catholics are invited to pray the Marian prayer as a family and in community from April 30, the feast of Saint Pius V, to May 9, the day of the vote. "With God - say the Bishops - there is nothing to fear despite the discouraging use of fake news, trolls and historical distortions". "Let us turn again to our Blessed Mother and ask for her intercession so that she helps us vote for what God wants for us," says the letter signed by Cardinal José Advíncula, Archbishop of Manila.
The Bishops encourage the electorate to vote for candidates who "promote the common good, especially for the poor and marginalized". The Pastors also ask for special prayers for the Electoral Commission (Comelec) to carry out its mission of conducting effective, fair and transparent elections. Sister Siony Jomen, Franciscan Missionary Sister of Mary at Stella Maris College in Quezon City, near Manila, tells Agenzia Fides: "We have been praying the rosary for 23 weeks for peaceful and honest elections according to God's plan". At the same time, the nation's Catholic Bishops' Conference reiterated the exhortation to vote according to conscience. Furthermore, the Bishops say that people should vote for responsible, honest and competent leaders who serve the good of the country. Analysts say Philippine politics is deeply marked by political dynasties seeking to consolidate power over the years. In the latest exit polls, the two main candidates for the presidency are in the lead: Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr, son of the dictator and former president Ferdinand Marcos, deposed in a popular revolution; and María Leonor Gerona Robredo, current Vice President. According to Julio Teehankee, a professor at La Salle University, the Philippines has had more than 319 dynastic families since the first half of the 20th century. Dozens of family clans have lost power, but during the 2019 midterm elections, as many as 234 members of dynastic families were elected to various positions. In the national and local elections, the President, the Vice President, 12 senators and 308 representatives of the Lower House of Parliament are elected. There will also be a vote for 81 governors and deputy governors, 780 seats in the provincial councils, 1,634 mayors and deputy mayors of the municipalities and 13,546 seats in the city councils. (SD/PA) (Agenzia Fides, 29/4/2022)