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Selling votes not sinful under certain circumstances – Archbishop Soc

Republika

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas recently shared a video message on his official social media pages about the coming national elections. Specifically, he spoke about vote buying and selling.

“Vote buying and selling is a sin to God and against the law. But if you are hungry, if you are needy, you may accept it but do not fulfill that which is asked of you,” Villegas said in Tagalog, “because if a candidate is doing something illegal and awful and you’re being involved, tell him – ‘perform that misdeed on your own, leave me out of it,’.”


For Villegas, who was the former president of the CBCP (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines), accepting this money in situations that call for it could not be an act of sin.


“You may accept the money, but not because you promise to fulfill your end of the deal, but because you are in dire need for yourself and your family.

You are not obliged to fulfill an immoral, illegal contract,” he said in the video. “This means, when something bad was agreed upon, something awful is asked of you, so whatever you do, choose God, not the candidate buying your vote.”


He also went on to remind the faithful how “priceless” they are and that God should always be their priority over any politicians. He pointed out that buying their votes was an insult, as their price is Jesus Christ’s body and blood.


These remarks from Villegas came after presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo made a controversial statement regarding vote buying. Robredo had told a group to take the money of any politician looking to buy their votes, but vote according to their conscience anyway.


Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman James Jimenez did not take Robredo’s statement well, as vote buying is an election offense regardless of intent or financial situation.


As far as Jimenez is concerned, accepting the vote buyers’ money should not be suggested to voters and not done at all.

Photo: Asian Journal


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