Personalities Rather Than Issues Take Center Stage, Say Cardinals

Monday, April 19th, 2010

MANILA, April 15, 2010- The country's leading prelates said the country's politicians and voters must learn to look at the recent past to learn lessons on leadership and dedication to duty.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales said important issues take the back seat as the campaign season turn fever pitch during the last couple of weeks before the May 10, 2010 local and national polls.

"Ang isyu ay natatabunan at ang nakikita'y ang kakulangan at kapintasan ng tao tulad ng pagpula at paninira sa kapwa," Archbishop Rosales told CBCPNews when asked why the campaign has focused on personalities instead of the country's important issues.

The 77-year old prelate said politicians who assume office do not seem to care about the good things their predecessors accomplished. He cited the need for continuity.

He observed most politicians are convinced their plans and strategies are far better than their predecessors.

"It appears if it is not their idea then it must be a bad idea," he added. He explained there is no continuity of good government programs.

"If this will always be the case we will never progress as most politicians and political parties have no clear political platforms, philosophy and convictions found in other political parties abroad.

He said Americans have only to choose between the Democrats and Republicans who are poles apart in terms of strategies in governance. He explained American voters know what to expect when they elect either Democrats or Republicans.

He said the entry of party-list even "muddled" the situation as most voters became confused.

As far as Cebu Archbishop Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal is concerned, the people should understand politicians today "can promise the whole world" especially during the campaign season.

Asked if he believes the covenant signed by various political personalities in Cebu would bring about peaceful and credible elections in a matter of weeks, the prelate said he believes in the fidelity of the Cebuanos to the Christian doctrine.

"If they promise to do what is good I believe they will do it as I am always optimistic," the Archbishop of Cebu for the past 27 years said. He said he believes in the goodness of man.

However, the 79-year old prelate said the electorate should also understand the implementation will depend on the means and goodwill of the elected leaders "and of course, by God's grace."

Asked how far the Catholic Church will go in its criticism of the political system, the prelate said "whenever it touches on morality, we will always be there." (Melo M. Acuna)