‘Members of the clergy are citizens too’ – De Lima

By Mavic Conde


Senator Leila De Lima defends the Catholic priests who have actively participated in political discourse for the 2022 elections.


“Members of the clergy are citizens too, with fundamental liberties and constitutional right to free expression,” De Lima said.


According to her, “even Pope Francis has exhorted the faithful to engage in political discourses that affect the moral life of a society.”


This was in response to the Marcos camp that urged Catholic priests to not ‘meddle’ in politics. Marcos spokesperson lawyer Victor Gonzales said that the clergy must “refrain from openly meddling with politics” and be more cautious with their words.


De Lima, however, begged to differ.


“Sa ganito nabubuko ang mga kandidatong mapanupil, sa kanilang pagtuligsa sa mga paring nagsasalita tungkol sa mga kabaluktutan ng isang diktaduryang rehimen, sa nakaraan man o kasalukuyan,” she said.


The Philippines is the Asian country with the biggest number of Catholic members, which account for 80 percent of the nation’s more than 110 million population.


In a homily, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines President Pablo Virgilio David reminded the churchgoers of this message: “To be neutral means that you support evil.”