Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma on Thursday said candidates should be pious, patriotic, lover of nature, and humanitarian.
Ledesma said he supports the 10 candidates endorsed by the People’s Choice Movement (PCM), which consists of Catholic and Christian lay leaders.
“They should have core values na maka-Diyos sila, makabayan, makakalikasan, also makatao. So these basic principles should be there. And partisan in the sense that even lay Catholics should really choose candidates and political parties openly, so that they can also campaign for the right candidates,” he said.
“Personally I would support them but not as an institutional leader of the Church, but as a voter, as a Filipino citizen. I would endorse them but only in private and to the lay groups that are around."
Included in the list are the entire Otso Diretso slate, reelectionist Sen. Grace Poe and former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.
However, when it comes to local candidates, Ledesma said he would remain neutral and will not endorse any candidate.
Otso Diretso senatorial candidates Samira Gutoc and Erin Tañada joined the 76th birthday celebration of Ledesma at the Bishop's Palace on Thursday.
Gutoc said she will not be affected if ever she will receive malicious comments for meeting with the Catholic Church leader.
Gutoc previously received criticism from netizens after her photo spread on social media where she attended a mass inside a Catholic Church.
“Social media attacks, but also social media defends. So I’m really thankful sa lahat ng netizens who also defended me, yung mga volunteers coming out to counter-troll. Sa mga young people who believe in Otso Diretso and in me as a Muslim advocate who represents Muslim-Christian dialogue, please help me defend,” she said.