CBCP Hopes for Clean Polls Amid Automation Glitches

Monday, May 10th, 2010

MANILA, May 5, 2010-The Catholic hierarchy still clings to the hope that next week's automated elections would be fine amid new automation glitches again and fears of poll failure.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also called on the faithful to downplay rumors of negative situations on May 10 polls especially those that "feed on our fears."

In a statement signed by CBCP president Bishop Nereo Odchimar, the bishops said that despite the unabated patronage politics, "spaces of hope" continue to emerge from people devoted to genuine change in the country.

"The faithful are not involved in ensuring credible elections; they are also starting to be engaged in helping emerge credible candidates and discerning voters," part of the statement read.

Odchimar noted the recollection among candidates for various government positions as "another welcome development.

"There is a growing consensus that being truly God-fearing is the fundamental leadership trait from which other qualities are strengthened and perfected," he said.

The bishops also lauded the authorities who are heeding the call to be extra-vigilant to bring about orderly polls and not allow themselves to be used by politicians or ideological groups.

"Various sectors, in addition to the church network, conduct regular prayer vigils. We are a nation learning to pray and work for social transformation," stressed Odchimar.

The bishops also called on the faithful to be vigilant in the wake of the many problems hounding the poll automation process.

Several groups have already raised growing concerns over the reports of problematic Pre Precinct Count Optical Scan machines and its faulty memory cards which will be used in the elections.

"Let us be extra-vigilant and patient concerning the first-ever automated polls," the bishop said as they urged voters to "choose the way of God during elections by choosing good and rejecting evil, even the lesser evil."

"We call on the Comelec to have a concrete guidelines on handling post-election complaints and to work closely with other government and non-government agencies in ensuring honest, orderly, and credible elections," they added.

The Catholic hierarchy likewise called on the Philippine Armed Forces to side with the welfare of the people amid talks of a military takeover in case the May 10 automated polls fails.

With few days left before the automated elections, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in a statement, said certain fears of poll failure still linger.

"Peace keepers: Leave a legacy of keeping the peace by continuing to serve the common good rather than vested interests. Be courageous," he said. (CBCPNews)