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MANILA, Jan. 4, 2013—A businesswoman expressed her regret over voting for Benigno Aquino III in the 2010 elections and for trusting that he would make morally upright decisions, thereby sealing her convictions to support only pro-life candidates this time around.
“I look for someone nowadays who has fear and love of God. We need them more than ever because their conscience can be guided. I voted for Noynoy and I am regretting it,” said entrepreneur Anna Villahermosa.
“I thought that his non-pro-life stance could be overcome. But it’s clear now he does not have the same moral compass as his mother. People should say this — he is not the same as Cory Aquino.”
The way the legislation of “reproductive health” was pursued, including the apparent meddling of Malacanang on the weeks leading up to the bill’s passage, made the so-called “Daang matuwid” – Pnoy’s campaign message – a glaring inconsistency in his administration. When the bill was passed on second reading and eventually signed into law, Villahermosa was one of many who lamented the outcome.
“I have been talking to fellow pro-lifers and we can’t feel gloomy and defeated. We have to realize that this is the start of the battle. It’s only begun for us here,” the Cebu-based businesswoman pointed out.
“In the USA, the pro-lifers are having it so hard, and what we have here is not so bad compared to what they have to hurdle and change in their country. We have to continue the fight in solidarity with all pro-lifers all over the world. We can’t lose hope.”
“At the same time, we have to start ways to do community work, present real solutions and we just don’t march and cry out. It’s a great challenge for us lay people,” she continued, adding that though she feels angry, she is also challenged to channel it to more productive activity.
The call for the election of pro-life candidates into public office intensified especially after the RH bill became Republic Act (RA) 10354, prompting some to scoff at the notion of candidates’ stand on culture-of-life issues as “narrow-minded.”
Villahermosa mused that she believes integrity and authentic life-affirming values are the most vital in evaluating people aiming for a post in public office.
“What’s narrow-minded is to vote for Catholic candidates who are “sarado Katoliko” in a different way – those who are scrupulous… the left hand doesn’t look what the right hand is doing.”
“However, if the candidate says he is pro-life, I better take notice because being pro-life entails respect for the most basic of values to practice,” she continued. “And if your candidate is sensitive to this, well and good because he is expected to practice public service with integrity.”
Anti-RH conviction top factor come voting time
Other life advocates who look forward to casting their ballots on May 13 have made the RH issue a defining factor. Aaron Ching, for one, has stricken out pro-RH politicians from his list.
“The RH law is not a narrow issue. It has wide implications that will affect Philippine society as a whole. It affects religious liberties, sanctity of life especially of the unborn, government spending, and moral stability of the nation,” the young engineer explained.
Ching said the most vital consideration for him in voting for a candidate is that he/she “should be a true pro-lifer.” Since without the right to be born no other human rights will be relevant, he said, “this factor is the very first on my list.”
“We need a statesman who would respect life from conception to natural death,” said sales executive Francis Bautista.
“Since we live in a capitalistic society, we must vote for people who would promote economic liberalization. Let’s face it, competition breeds innovation,” he said, adding that this would also lead to the creation of more jobs for Filipinos.
Corruption was likewise a concern for Bautista and factored it in in his decision-making not just for this year’s elections, but beyond 2013.
“Eventually, we need to vote for someone who would make a way to eradicate political dynasties which breed corruption in our very society,” he said.
‘Seeks God’s heart before personal ambition’
“I would definitely consider how our congressmen/senators voted for the RH bill. Those who don’t value life, commitment or responsibility are crossed out – [Senator] Miriam [Defensor-Santiago], [Congressman] Edcel [Lagman], [Congresswoman Janette] Garin, [Senator Pia] Cayetano, [Risa] Hontiveros, etc.,” wedding photographer Dominic Barrios specified.
“Those who profess that they are Catholics but do not submit to the church are also marked,” he said, adding he doesn’t believe that those who voted against the bill get a “free pass” to be automatically voted. They are being considered, though, Barrios said, with their track records likewise being a crucial factor.
Asked for other traits he looks for in his analysis of each contender for public positions, the photographer said, “I’m looking for a God-fearing candidate – a Catholic, as much as possible, who is practicing his/her faith. I believe that the best man who can lead the country is someone who seeks God’s heart first rather than his ambitions.” (CBCP for Life)