The Philippine Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (CBCP) pastoral letter on the May elections (“Radical Distortions” of Alarm Edsa 1 CBCP, News, 2/26/22) is a wake-up call for Catholics and Filipinos as we elect our national leaders in May. To quote the bishops’ statement:[W]We are appalled by the blatant and subtle distortion, manipulation, concealment, repression and abuse of truth, such as: historical revisionism — the distortion of history or its denial; the proliferation of fake news and fake stories; disinformation – the sowing of false information and false narratives to influence people’s opinions [and] hide the truth to slander and blackmail people.
Compared to their previous pastoral letters which simply reiterated long-standing moral guidelines for the election of the nation’s political leaders, this statement by our Church leaders is unprecedented and underscores the perilous state of the current socio-political situation.
The CBCP statement is the result of intensive community discernment but still begs the question: who is the source of the massive disinformation campaign? People exercising their best judgment this election season would easily know which presidential campaign is engaged in this evil enterprise. But many of the lead candidate’s rabid supporters have become so falsely indoctrinated by social media and oblivious to historical facts that they easily fall for the “pandemic of lies” generated by their beloved candidate’s camp. They even viciously spread these lies.
Our good Bishops have shown their firm determination to exercise their role as spiritual and moral guides for their flock, given the methodical fabrication of lies and half-truths in social media and the organized attempts to undo the gains of the revolution. of People’s Power Edsa. But by directly naming the insidious forces behind the martial law misinformation and black propaganda directed at political rivals, Church members would be even more confident in their moral choice when voting. Many priests, religious groups and lay Catholics have endorsed Vice President Leni Robredo as individuals after assessing the relative qualities of the leading candidates and assessing the likely negative impact of a Marcos victory.
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