Monday, May 14, 2007

People Power in the Ballot

THE old saying has it that “all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Today, as the nation goes to the polls, we are stating a message: no matter how imperfect or violated it may be, democracy is not dead in this country. We have proven it time and again, from one election to another that the “ballot” is the ultimate expression of “people power.”

We can all agree and participate to make this 2007 election clean, honest, accurate, meaningful and peaceful or as they call it—a CHAMP. Yes, we can make it happen, together with the thousands of volunteers working with NAMFREL and NASSA, PPCRV and LENTE (Legal Network for Truthful Election) and the thousands of Teachers spread throughout the country. The process is part of nation-building. Together we can make democracy and the electoral process work better for the country, better than in the past.

We need the Lord’s help in this important event. May the hand of God stop the evil of electoral violence, cheating and corruption from getting in control of our electoral process. Let us accompany our election and counting of votes with prayer and watchfulness.

Do not allow anyone to violate the sanctity of your ballot. Vote according to your conscience. Vote freely whom you believe can advance the common good of this country. Protect your vote from being tampered with. Remember: the candidate who wins by cheating will also govern by cheating. The citizens who sell their votes for any price deserve the government they install with their votes.


+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO
May 14, 2007

1 comment:

egosumcarlo said...

May 26, 2007



Archbishop Angel Lagdameo
President
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
Intramuros, Manila

Your Excellency,

Laudetur Iesus Christus!

Please see attached below, a letter which I, a 26-year old ordinary layperson from the Diocese of Pasig, wrote and addressed to His Excellency, Our Bishop, Francisco San Diego, D. D. The letter deals with the recently conducted elections which have engendered some grave anxieties for us locally in Pasig City. A hard copy of the letter has been sent to the office of His Excellency. We have also furnished some copies for the leadership of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), select members of the media as well as some trusted representatives from the government, past and present.

It has been suggested to me that I forward a copy to Your Excellency as well given your incomparably pivotal role as the President of our country’s conference of Bishops who has been uniformly and crucially vocal on matters concerning the material and spiritual welfare of Filipinos. Further, after having read Your Excellency’s most recent postings to your blog, “In and Out of Season” at http://abplagdameo.blogspot.com/, I became convinced that the issue we are alluding to, is in congruence with your present emphasis on making the Elections of 2007, Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful. While the immediate scope and impact of this issue may be local, prompting us to write to our Bishop first of all, we recognize that it is symptomatic of anxieties being faced by Filipinos everywhere. We write to you now with unwavering confidence that the prayers and works of the Church trusting in Her Saviour, remain to be the most efficacious way of illuminating the consciences of everyone involved in societal progress. Forwarding this matter on to Your Excellency, I believe has become the appropriate way to keep evil from triumphing simply because we have allowed our sense of right and wrong to be silenced.

Writing on behalf of family and friends who share our concerns, we do not necessarily expect any drastic, publicly visible action the part of Your Excellency. Knowing that you are informed of our situation and being included in your prayers would be comfort for us enough.

Thank you for taking time to read our letter. We would be immensely grateful for any help and input Your Excellency may extend.

Very sincerely yours,


Carlo Jerome Ng
0917-6229805
egosumcarlo@yahoo.com
Baranggay Dela Paz, Pasig City
---THE FOLLOWING IS THE TEXT OF THE LETTER:



May 20, 2007




Bishop Francisco San Diego, D.D.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral
Diocese of Pasig

Your Excellency,

Pax et Bonum!

My name is Carlo Jerome Ng. I graduated in 2001 from the Ateneo de Manila University. Today I work at a consulting company based in Makati. I live with my parents, brothers and sisters. We are a family of eight residing in Bartville Subdivision, located at one of the suburbs of Pasig City bordering Cainta and Marikina. We are members of the Santa Lucia Parish where we conscientiously attend Mass celebrated by our Parish Priest, Father Lino and sometimes by Fr. Raffy or Fr. Rene. This is the first time that we have corresponded with a member of the Church hierarchy but we believe that this is an opportune occasion deserving a first step.

We are writing about a matter, which we feel you will also find to be of pressing importance and which bears widespread and long-lasting impact on the lives of thousands of people. This is regarding the electoral process in the City of Pasig. We happen to be first-hand witnesses to the extent with which the outcome of the elections for the local positions have been egregiously manipulated and maneuvered to unfairly favor certain candidates. We have seen how watchers were threatened at gunpoint and beaten up by members of the SWAT and the local Police just to dissuade them from accompanying the ballot boxes while these were being transported from the precincts to the canvassing area. We have seen how lawyers were dragged and imprisoned with no due process. We have friends who saw CityHall personnel smuggling ballot boxes out of the canvassing area to keep them from being counted. Instead of trying to conceal this act caught in plain sight as what one would expect, the personnel chased and put the witnesses in jail quite ironically for having witnessed a crime being committed.

These forms of harassment unfortunately have yielded a decisive impact. Based on comparisons done between the canvassing at the CityHall and the canvassing done at the precinct level by Election Watchers, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and third party observers, between 15,000 to 60,000 votes have been replaced and this has decided the outcome of the elections in total disregard of the will of all the people who took the effort of casting their votes with the assumption that they would be counted and thus be able to participate in mapping out the future of their city and of their lives.

We will always recall our Saviour’s challenge to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors. This is a reminder to always aim for the non-human standards of forgiveness and charity that does not discriminate between friend and foe. We will always be mindful of the Church’s caution in not getting involved in partisan politics and in respecting the processes of the secular sphere. At the same time, we also look to the Church in her special role as the conscience of the world. Consistently in the past, the Church has rightfully and necessarily spoken out to safeguard the family, the unborn and the oppressed. We have heard Her speak against dictators and against leaders who flaunt power even after losing their moral ascendancy to govern. These brave acts of Motherly intervention will always be held in great esteem as examples for leaders of all sorts that it is sometimes acceptable to risk popularity and risk being ridiculed if only to take a stand and demonstrate that it is a stand that our Lord would have taken.

In our acknowledgement of the perpetual call to charity towards all, we also draw from the reminder that Justice is the minimum demanded by Charity. At this critical juncture of events that would affect the lives of thousands of families for the next 3 or 4 years, we see the need to repair an injustice that has been flagrantly committed. One persistent image is that the populace trusting in the electoral process has been robbed of the truth. Hundreds to thousands of other people who have witnessed the acts of dishonesty are presently close to feeling hopeless and giving up. Many feel powerless and this is reinforced when we make the observation that the cheating has pushed through even with influential people already on the side of integrity and keeping elections clean. We are right now having to reassure a lot of concerned and disheartened citizens that this current apparent victory of brute force and money in trying to snuff out the true will of the people does not mean that ill will has completely or definitively prevailed. Our Lord who is Truth Himself will still reign at the end of all things temporal. We remember Saint Francis of Assisi who said, “All the darkness in the world cannot overcome the light of a single candle.” At the same time, we cannot help but continue to pray that the truth be rekindled even before the end and that through it, the lives of many people may be ameliorated as they have already hoped will begin through the votes they have cast. We continue to pray that the Church as the beacon of salvific truth instituted by God Himself will help restore justice and the faith of people in society’s benevolence. For the flock of vulnerable sheep in need of food, care and protection while trying to fend for themselves, we look to the Shepherds empowered by God to feed the little ones.

In recognition of this singular role of the Church, we very earnestly plead that under your guidance in our Diocese, that She may play the part that only She can uniquely play, in reestablishing the truth that will serve as the unshakeable foundation of all efforts towards progress. We continually unite our prayers to those of Your Excellency that good will may prevail. Additionally, we will most readily heed any call and support any initiative that the Church may take part in.

As we profess to be obedient sons and daughters of the Church, we submit to your magisterium and trust completely in your guidance.

We pray to God and His Mother that your recovery may continue and that through Your Excellency, many more souls may be won for Him.

Ad Iesum per Mariam!

Very sincerely yours,



Carlo Jerome S. Ng
0917-6229805
egosumcarlo@yahoo.com
Baranggay Dela Paz
Pasig City