Exodus 18:21: “choose from among all people – competent men who areÂ God-fearing, honest and incorruptible to be their leaders.”
THERE IS NO OTHER SOURCEÂ of certainty in answering that question Â than by referring to the above Biblical saying.
In the national scene, we assume all of them have achieved a certain level of competence to run for high public office. Biodata, however, is not enough. Character is.
As they say, “the future is now” in that this election will determine who paddles the canoe in the next six years.Â But God always gave men the right of choice, He has so much respect for those He had made to His Image and Likeness.
But being human, we can also/always choose our own Â poison. We are a product of the choices that we make.Â Let’s review Exodus.
“God -fearing” means respect and fear for the 10 Commandments of God. “Thou Shalt Not Steal” and “Thou Shalt Not Kill” are there -for certain. It means respect for religion, its institutions and human beings-his right to life and pursuit of happiness.
“Honest” is clear enough- it means keep your hand in your pocket and not your neighbor’s or the government’s.”Incorruptible” could mean consistency in moral principles when faced with dilemmas of choice.
That dilemma could Â easily be Â answered by: What Would Jesus have Done (WWJD)? The dilemma vanishes if Â one is Â actually – The Dilemma. (We’re not talking of Leila)
Our problem as the only Christian nation in Asia has always been Â the great disconnect between our professed faith and our daily actions.Â Mea CulpaÂ for all of us sinners.Â But it does not have to be this way ,forever.
In a real sense, there should be Â no separation of Church and State Â -because man is made of body and soul. To humanize man, to the neglect of Christ , is to progress in vain; to Christianize man to the neglect of the material, is to Christify in vain.
Pope Francis, the leader of all Catholics said:” We are called to constructive political activity among the people. The preaching of human and religious values has a political consequence. Whether we like it or not, it is there.”
To say that religion and politics are not intertwined shows little understanding of both.
That is the reason why for the first time in the nation’s history – almost all the major faith- based lay group among Catholics, Born Again and Protestants have signed up for PMTL (Pilipino Movement for Transformational Leadership) to help elect God-fearing and God-centered men into public office.
Candidates for president,vice president and senators underwent a process of discernment among the members in the Primary utilizing the GabayKristo Criteria. These included: competence, leadership, fidelity to God and Neighbor, Truthfulness in Governance and Character.
We are sure if one uses these criteria, one would have choices-not easy ones but choices.
The anointed candidates then signed a covenant Â with PTML to pursue the “Reform Agenda” based on Christian ethics. PMTL then organized the People’s Choice, the campaign arm of the Group and had sought the help of dioceses and ecumenical councils to vote for these candidates. The activity has the full endorsement of the CBCP through Archbishop Socrates Villegas, its President.
We are not sure if a Pastoral Letter is forthcoming soon.Â But all Christian believers ,bishops, priests ,pastors, lay leaders are encouraged to campaign.Â Not following the list will not diminish the grace of God to any one but Â it is merely a guide of Â enlightened Christian discernment.Â One ,therefore, need not vote for all. It is still a free country.
The Chosen Candidates are: Grace Poe and Mar Roxas (president), Leni Robredo (Vice President) and senators: (Alunan, Colmenares, De Lima, Gordon, Guingona, Ople, Osmena, Pangilinan, Roman and Villanueva).
In basketball, today Â would be the “last two minutes”. However, the SWS surveys indicated 5-6% (2.7 M to 3.4 M) voters are still undecided and 40% said “they could still change their mind” Â or a huge 21.6 M voters of the 54 M total voters. That’s a lot of votes.
As the song goes, “Don’t Give Up On Us, Baby”- without the Â romance of the song.
Ideally, according to the old Jesuit priest, the Rev. John Patrick Delaney pictured the “ideal” public official as Â alike to “Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.” That’s why they are called public “servants” and not “masters”. Can you begin to imagine these candidates doing that -in the figurative sense, at least?
But being a Just God, He Â also allows men to commit mistakes. Human as we are- we can be seduced by the syrupy words of propaganda or led Â down Â the river by a Pied Piper (with a flute)- to Â crashing to the pernicious river while enjoying his music.
Remember that at Â times, the Israelites also Â chose the wrong leaders to lead them to the Promised Land. They, of course, paid the consequences.
Political double talk is easy. Recall that in the second inaugural address at the Rizal Park on December 30, 1989, the last sentence of president Ferdinand Marcos was:” Then we prove to our posterity Â that our dream was true that even in this land of the impoverished legacy, the wave of the future is not totalitarianism Â – but DEMOCRACY .”
Less than two years later- on September 21, 1971-Marcos declared Martial Law. There, he both ruined and beggared the country. Talk is cheap.
However, later on, not all Marcos’ military might could stop the millions in EDSA to exile him to a nation Â that also told him to “quit and quit cleanly.”Not all his billions in Switzerland could stop him from dying from lupus,
So- people Â do come and go; leaders rise and fall .Only God is Forever. SHALOM!
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