A Post Elections Statement of the Ecumenical Bishops Forum

The 2022 Elections are over, but the struggle for truth, justice and accountability continues.

The result of the presently concluded electoral process is again a triumph of a rotten traditional political system dominated by fat political dynasties. From the highest elective positions in the land down to the provincial level, political dynasties made it to the poll. No less than the presumptive elected president and vice president belong to political dynasties.

The claim by COMELEC that the May 2022 elections were clean, honest, and peaceful is plainly untrue. Fake news, disinformation and red-tagging targeting the opposition and progressive candidates occupied the election landscape, and vote-buying and illegal campaigning were the order of the day on election day itself.

1,800 faulty vote-counting machines affecting about 1.1M voters and other irregularities were reported on election day, per Kontradaya. The fast transmission of election returns despite widespread reports of malfunctioning VCM’s in multiple precinct clusters, COMELEC’s refusal to extend voting hours beyond 7pm, and the constant percentage difference in votes for the leading presidential and vice presidential candidates to that of their closest rivals casts aspersions on poll integrity.

With both chambers of the legislative branch of government dominated by an overwhelming majority of the incumbent ruling administration, checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches of government are compromised.

Few days after the elections, the presumptive president was shown in a victory party with oligarchs at a high-end venue, disclosing the full backing of the economic elites that control the national economy.

Our people will have to brace for national issues that will certainly affect everyone’s lives and well-being. The historical revisionism that wrote off the plunder, despotism, fascism and tyranny of the deposed Marcos dictatorship is already evident with the deletion of Malacañang’s online presidential library. A systematic massive disinformation campaign in mass media, social media platforms and even in education is still up and about, with legions of paid trolls sowing discord among citizens. With the NTF-ELCAC and the Anti-Terror Law now in place, there will be no let up in human rights violations.

Furthermore, a pro-China foreign policy in regard to the West Philippine Sea and our other natural resources can be expected, resulting in further environmental degradation. Marcos will certainly tighten his grip on his family’s ill-gotten wealth and continue economic plunder. Duterte will certainly obstruct the International Criminal Court’s investigation of her father’s crimes against humanity. This would not just be a continuation of the Duterte regime — it would be a continuation of Marcos Sr.’s.

But not all is darkness that looms in the land. A light shines in the people’s movement for change. The long years of diligent awareness building on the objective social realities are gaining ground. The unprecedented volunteerism of youth and other well-meaning individuals who contributed time, skills and resources to the political campaign of VP Leni Robredo demonstrates the painstaking fruit of the people’s movement for truth, justice and accountability. This is a big leap forward to dismantling traditional politics to replace it with the politics of change. Darkness cannot extinguish the light. Falsehood and disinformation cannot defeat the truth. Evil cannot overpower good — and even if it can, every candle can always be lit again.

The Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF) enjoins the faithful to remain vigilant and steadfastly persevere to pursue the struggle for truth, justice, peace and accountability. True political power resides with the people. The authority to govern is delegated to public officials through the electoral process. Our obligations as citizens do not end after the casting of votes. People’s movements for truth, justice and accountability should be pursued relentlessly. Moreover, constant vigilance must be exercised to hold those elected to public office accountable for their actions or inactions in performing their duties.

Finally, we join the call for the COMELEC to be held accountable —not only for the irregularities in the conduct of the May 2022 elections, but also for not disqualifying Marcos in the first place due to his criminal record.

Issued and Signed on this day, 24th May 2022.

Sgd.
Bishop Ciriaco Q. Francisco, UMC
Chairperson, EBF

Sgd.
The Rt. Rev’d. Emelyn G. Dacuycuy, IFI
Co-chairperson, EBF

Sgd.
Bishop Joel E. Tendero, UCCP
Treasurer, EBF

Sgd.
Bishop Emeritus Deogracias S. Iniguez, Jr., DD
Auditor, EBF

Sgd.
The Rt. Rev’d. Dindo De la Cruz Ranojo, IFI
General Secretary

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