Robredo: 'Insult' to Church to claim it's being used for politics

Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2022 05:59 PM

Priests at St. Augustine parish in Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, pray over Vice President Leni Robredo during her visit on March 3, 2022. VP Leni Media Bureau
Priests at St. Augustine parish in Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, pray over Vice President Leni Robredo during her visit on March 3, 2022. VP Leni Media Bureau

MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday said it was an "insult" to the Catholic Church to insinuate that it would allow itself to be used to boost her presidential candidacy. 

"Masyado naman yata 'yung insulto sa simbahan. Tingin ko, ang simbahan hindi naman magpapagamit," Robredo said in a chance interview in Dasmariñas City, Cavite. 

'Yung simbahan mas matatag na institusyon ito kaysa sa aming mga politiko. Hindi sila magpapagamit dahil lang sa inclination nila sa isang politiko," she continued. 

(That seems to be too much of an insult to the church. I think the church will not allow itself to be used. The church is a stronger institution than us politicians. They won't let themselves be used just because of their inclination for a candidate.)

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines is not endorsing any candidate. 

But hundreds of priests and nuns, some lay organizations, and the heads of several Catholic schools have expressed support for the candidacy of Robredo and her running-mate Sen. Francis Pangilinan. 

The camp of presidential candidate Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso this week questioned Robredo's meetings with religious leaders. 

His campaign manager Lito Banayo said Domagoso's meetings with church people were not made public because their camp did not want priests to be "compromised." 

Robredo was invited to all the events that she attended, her spokesman Barry Gutierrez said. 
 
"Ito ay mga conversation and prayer with VP Leni, na ino-organisa mismo ng parokya, at hindi campaign event. Kung desisyon ng parokya na i-offer yung espasyo, tiwala kami na dahil yun sinasalamin ni VP Leni ang prinsipyo at paniniwala nila," he said in a statement. 

(These are conversations and prayers with VP Leni, which were organized by the parish, and are not campaign events. If the parish decided to offer its space, we trust that it's because VP Leni reflects their principles and beliefs.) 

Robredo shares the Catholic Church's stand against divorce, death penalty, and abortion. 

FIGHT VS DISINFORMATION

The Vice President in several occasions asked religious leaders for help in fighting disinformation.

She is a top target of false information online, a fact-checking group said in February. 

"Ang paniniwala ko, hindi na ito kung sino 'yung kandidato mo sa eleksyon pero para sa akin, fight ito nating lahat na sisiguraduhin natin na 'yung election na ito, hindi siya dedesisyunan na base sa false information," Robredo told reporters. 

"And we need all the help we can get, 'yung simbahan meron syang makinarya on the ground. Meron siyang parishes na ito 'yung makakatulong sa atin para wasakin 'yung mga kasinungalingan na pinapakalat," she continued. 

(My belief is this is not just about who your candidate is, but for me, this a fight for all of us to ensure that this election is not decided based on false information... The church has machinery on the ground. It has parishes that can help us destroy lies that are being spread.) 

The CBCP last week warned the public against "radical distortions" in the history of martial law and the 1986 People Power revolution that drove the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos into exile with his family. 

Marcos' son and namesake is a contender in the May presidential race.

"Ako, 'yung assessment ko, kaya 'yung simbahan ngayon mas active din, kasi alam nila what is at stake. Hindi na lang ito pagkampi sa politiko pero 'yung moralidad natin bilang isang bansa, nakataya dito," said Robredo. 

(My assessment is the church is more active now because they know what is at stake. This is not just about siding with a politician, but our morality as a country is at stake.) 

"All other organizations", whether faith-based or not, are welcome to join the fight against disinformation, said Robredo.