CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar (PIA) - Calbayog Bishop, Reverend Isabelo Abarquez, yesterday addressed a cross-section of Samar's populace who heard mass and witnessed the signing of a peace covenant at the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, this city to "not sell your vote, (as) your vote is your honor; if you sell your vote, you sell as well your honor."
Said peace covenant, organized by the Provincial Joint Security Control Center (PJSCC) comprised of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Philippine Army, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) is intended at attaining peaceful, honest, orderly, secure and fair mid-term elections in May this year.
The signing of said covenant was also witnessed by Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II.
Officiating at the mass that preceded the signing of the peace covenant, Bishop Abarquez asked electoral candidates to be "a credit to your Christian name," and not violate God's Ten Commandments such as "killing, cheating, and bearing false witness against thy neighbor."
He also urged voters to "vote for the person who embodies the teachings of Christianity," and to "beware of candidates who overspend, for they will try to recoup their expenses at our expense."
At the same time, the Calbayog bishop particularly asked Comelec personnel led by local election supervisor, lawyer Corazon Montallana to "do your work with impartiality, because you are not a hireling of the person who appointed you," he said.
To the security forces, he urged them to expose and neutralize private armies. "Defend life, the dignity and rights of our citizens."
The bishop told teachers, "I trust in your integrity."
As the mass ended, Bishop Abarquez again reminded candidates running in the forthcoming elections to honor the covenant they signed. "Please give peace and love a chance, let peace and love reign in our hearts and in our families."
He also underlined that he "will not endorse anyone as I fully support your freedom in voting, this pact will help you form your conscience; act as a Christians."