MANILA - On the day Christians commemorated the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David asked the faithful who they are going to choose in the upcoming midterm elections: Jesus or Barabbas.
In a Facebook post, the bishop reminded the faithful how Pontius Pilate gave the people the choice between Jesus and Barabbas.
"Pontius Pilate gave them a chance to vote. It was a choice between Jesus and Barabbas. They elected Barabbas, and had Jesus crucified," David said.
"Will your vote in May be for Jesus, or for Barabbas?"
Pilate was the ruling governor of Judea, which was then under the Roman empire, and is known in the Bible for presiding over the trial and execution of Jesus.
Barabbas, meanwhile, was described in the Scriptures as a bandit, a murderer, and a participant in political insurrection.
It was mentioned in the Bible that as part of tradition, Pilate was bound to release a prisoner by popular acclaim.
Despite his reluctance to send Jesus to his death, Pilate gave in to the people's demand when they chose to free Barabbas instead of Jesus.
"Para sa ating mga alagad ni Kristo, ang pamumuno ay dapat gawin sa diwa ng pagiging alipin, pagiging lingkod. Dahil ang Panginoon mismo ay naparito hindi upang paglingkuran kundi upang maglingkod," the bishop added in another Facebook post for Holy Thursday's Mass of the Lord's Supper.
[For us disciples of Christ, being a leader should be done in the spirit of being a slave, a servant. Because the Lord Himself came not to be served upon but to serve.]
Bishop David is one of the most vocal critics of some of the Duterte administration's policies, including the war on drugs.
The president has retaliated by criticizing David, accusing the bishop of stealing Church donations, and calling him "son of a whore."
David has defended his mother, and his tribute went viral on Facebook.