Former Cabinet secretary and gubernatorial candidate Leoncio Evasco, Jr. has turned down the invitation of the Catholic Church led by Bishop Abet Uy in Bohol to join a covenant signing on Sunday for peaceful and honest elections, citing the ineffectiveness of such undertakings.
“Allow me to be very frank with you regarding my reservations over the holding of the covenant signing together with fellow candidates,” Evasco said in a letter addressed to Uy. “With due apologies, let me note that similar covenants were publicly signed in the past. Unfortunately such covenants did not suffice to prevent irregularities, excesses and shortcomings in those elections.”
According to Evasco, he would still nonetheless support the conduct of polls free from intimidation, vote-buying and other illegal acts as stipulated by laws.
“I make this unilateral and unequivocal commitment to you to abide by the laws of the land and the church that you represent. It is a commitment that I hold solemnly before you with utmost respect and to the position to which you have been ordained, in a church to which both of us continue and will always be faithful to,” said Evasco, a former priest.
Uy, along with the Church, has been actively advocating for “clean and honest” elections which is free from vote-buying.
“Ang kaugmaon sa nasud dili moagi sa imong bulsa kundili sa imong konsensya, pili og maayo, ayaw ibaligya imong boto,” said Uy in a Facebook post.
“Mo saludo ko’g lungsod/parokya na makapadaug og kandidato nga di mamalit og boto,” he said in another post.
The covenant signing is scheduled to be held on Sunday during a Holy Mass at 9 a.m. at the St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Tagbilaran City, according to a pastoral letter signed by Uy and Bishop Daniel Parcon of the Diocese of Talibon.
The pastoral letter also urged voters to actively participate in voters’ education by commissioning themselves as members in the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).
CHAMP, the anchor campaign for Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful elections will also be launched on the same day. Launching ceremonies and covenant signing activities have been set to be simultaneously held in various parishes across the province.
The initiative is being carried out in joint efforts of the Commission on Elections and the Philippine National Police.