Binay, Roxas sign truth pact for May polls

Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Only two of five presidential candidates signed a covenant for Truthful, Responsible, Upright, Trustworthy, Honest (TRUTH) elections at the Manila Cathedral on Monday.

Liberal Party (LP) Mar Roxas and Vice President Jejomar Binay signed the Truthful, Responsible, Upright, Trustworthy, Honest (TRUTH) covenant after a Mass presided by Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

During the Eucharistic celebration, Roxas and wife Korina Sanchez shared the same pew with Vice President Jejomar Binay and his daughter Senator Nancy. However, they sat at opposite ends of the pew.

Binay and Roxas remained cordial and shook hands during the peace offering, then affixed their signatures on the covenant.

The three other presidential bets -- Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Grace Poe, and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago -- missed the covenant signing.

None of the vice presidential bets attended the affair, although Rep. Leni Robredo sent Dr. Gail Robredo to sign the covenant on her behalf.

Fifteen senatorial candidates attended the Mass and signed the covenant. They are:

former interior secretary Rafael Alunan III
former metropolitan development chief Francis Tolentino
former police Special Action Forces chief Getulio NapeƱas
Sen. Vicente Sotto III
former justice secretary Leila De lima
Atty. Lorna Kapunan
OFW advocate Susan Ople
Rep. Cresento Paez
Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno
Rep. Roman Romulo
Sulu Princess Jacel Kiram
former broadcaster Rey Langit
fomer Akbayan Risa Hontiveros
Rep. Martin Romualdez
former Rep. Dante Liban

Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairperson Atty. Andres Bautista witnessed the event.

NANCY ON DUTERTE

After the ceremony, Sen. Nancy Binay was asked to comment on Duterte's current predicament concerning alleged hidden wealth in his bank accounts.

Binay said she hopes there would be enough evidence to back up the accusations of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV before Duterte is condemned by the public.

READ: Duterte accounts had P2.4-B in transactions - Trillanes

The senator said their family went through the same ordeal when Trillanes also accused them of pocketing public funds.

Trillanes has played a major role in the investigation and allegations against the Binay family in relation to alleged graft-ridden projects in the city of Makati.

READ: Trillanes, Duterte lawyer show up at BPI-Julia Vargas

CBCP PASTORAL LETTER

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) earlier urged voters to reject "a candidate" who takes positions that are "not only politically precarious but worse, morally reprehensible."

In a pastoral letter released Sunday, the CBCP dissuaded the public from voting for "a candidate" who has shown "scant regard" for the rights of others and the teachings of the Church.

"There is a fundamental difference between right and wrong, and not everything is fair game in politics. A choice for a candidate who takes positions that are not only politically precarious but worse, morally reprehensible, cannot and should not be made by the Catholic faithful and those who take their allegiance to Christ and his Kingship seriously," the pastoral letter read.

The bishops added that the desire for change is understandable, but this should not push citizens to choose a leader who has no regard for morality and the rights of others.

"The desire for change is understandable. Our people have suffered from incompetence and indifference. But this cannot take the form of supporting a candidate whose speech and actions, whose plans and projects show scant regard for the rights of all, who has openly declared indifference if not dislike and disregard for the Church specially her moral teachings," the CBCP said.

READ: CBCP to voters: 'Reject morally reprehensible bet'

CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has previously criticized Duterte for allegedly cursing at Pope Francis, after his visit caused heavy traffic in Metro Manila.

In a Facebook post last December, Villegas said public officials should lead by example.

"When we find vulgarity funny, we have really become beastly and barbaric as a people. When a revered and loved and admired man like Pope Francis is cursed by a political candidate and the audience laugh, I can only bow my head and grieve in great shame. My countrymen has gone to the dregs," Villegas also said in a Facebook post.

Aside from calling out vulgarity, he also warned that killing and adultery are also forms of corruption.

"Killing is a crime and a sin whether it is done by criminals or public officials no matter what the intention. Adultery is corruption. It makes married love cheap and uses people for pleasure. Adultery corrupts the family; it destroys children and victimizes the weak," Villegas said.

"Is this the leadership by example that Mayor Duterte excites in us? Is this the leadership by example that makes a public official deserving of the title 'Honorable'?," he added.

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