JC de los Reyes and the Ignatian Tradition: Politics as a vocation

JC de los Reyes before the image of the Divine Mercy

JC de los Reyes before the image of the Divine Mercy

Meet John Carlos (JC) de los Reyes, senatorial candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party.

JC studied in Ateneo de Manila Grade School of the Jesuit Fathers and then in De La Salle Santiago Zobel School of the La Salle Brothers. In college, he took up AB in Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  In 1999 he finished his post-graduate studies in Public Administration in University of the Philippines and in 2005 he finished his Law Degree in St. Louis University in Baguio City.

In this article, I shall focus only on JC’s Ignatian roots and his view of politics as a vocation.  (Hopefully, in another article, I shall write on JC’s Lasallian roots and his view on empowerment through entrepreneurship).  I shall frame the article as a response to a series of questions.

Introduction: Jesuit System of Education

Jesuit-run schools are outgrowths of the need to train the next generation of Jesuits.  Since many parents also want their children to receive the same training as the Jesuits, the parents enrolled their children in Jesuit universities, and the Society of Jesus adapted to this new apostolate.  That is why Ateneans in their early years are grounded in the Catechism and the recitation of the Rosary.  Mary is the model and all Ateneans are slowly transformed into soldiers who shall offer their sword–their time, talents, and treasures–to our Lady, as St. Ignatius did at Montserrat in March 1522.  Indeed, the Ateneo’s Alma Mater song is none other but the Song for Mary: “Mary for you!  For your white and blue!  We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true!  We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!”

But to be a true soldier of Mary and companion of Christ, an Atenean must be intellectually prepared for such a task.  He must study as St. Ignatius studied in University of Paris–Grammar (Latin), Literature, Philosophy, and Theology.  Thus, an Atenean must be able to write lucid prose, dissect a poem, read original philosophical and theological texts, and discuss a thesis statements in oral exams.  It’s the rigor of thought sharpened by years of training.  Jesuit education is a system of education born out of decades of Jesuit experimentation on educational theory–what works and what doesn’t in the actual classroom with data from all Jesuit schools around the world.  The results of this experiments were distilled into the Ratio Studiorum of 1599, also known in full as the Ratio atque Institutio Studiorum Societatis Iesu (“The Official Plan for Jesuit Education”).  It is a guide for how a Jesuit school is run and how teachers should teach different subjects.  It is a guide that remains in force today, albeit with some modifications, in all Jesuit schools, including the Ateneo de Manila University.

Question 1: Is JC de los Reyes a true Atenean?

He is.  His elementary education in Ateneo de Manila Grade School with the Jesuits suffices.  As the Jesuits would say: “Give me the child for seven years, and I will give you the man.”  So even if JC has not undergone college in Ateneo and trained by the Jesuits to read the classics from Aristotle to Aquinas to Kant, JC has studied the works of these authors more than the average Atenean: JC studied them when he took up his AB in Theology in the Franciscan University of Steubenville, one of the most Orthodox Catholic Universities in the US.  That’s Magis.  That’s more.

Question 2: What’s an Atenean like JC de los Reyes doing in a Franciscan University?

Oh, why is our Jesuit Pope named Francis? When St. Ignatius was recuperating after being hit by a cannonball, he read the “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis and the lives of the saints, which made him wish to imitate the heroic lives of saints such as St. Francis of Assisi.  When St. Ignatius reached the Holy Land, hoping to settle there and convert the Muslims, the Franciscans sent him back to Europe.  And from this setback arose the Jesuit mission of Counter-Reformation and the establishment of Jesuit Schools throughout Europe.  By 1739, there were 669 Jesuit schools throughout the world.  The bond between Jesuits and Franciscans is deep.

JC de los Reyes (right) with his uncle, Cardinal Chito Tagle (left)

JC de los Reyes (right) with his uncle, Cardinal Chito Tagle (left)

Question 3: There is no doubt that JC de los Reyes would be a good philosopher or theologian.  But politics is a different thing.  To be a man and woman for others, you need competence.  Is JC de los Reyes competent to be a senator?  

For Plato, the ideal ruler is the Philosopher-King as stated in his book, The Republic.  Thus, to be a philosopher suffices to be a senator.  As Socrates said in Plato’s Republic:

Inasmuch as philosophers only are able to grasp the eternal and unchangeable, and those who wander in the region of the many and variable are not philosophers, I must ask you which of the two classes should be the rulers of our State?

The Philosophers, of course.  And Socrates continued with his proposed definitions on what it is to be a philosopher:

 Let us suppose that philosophical minds always love knowledge of a sort which shows them the eternal nature not varying from generation and corruption….And further, I said, let us agree that they are lovers of all true being; there is no part whether greater or less, or more or less honorable, which they are willing to renounce; as we said before of the lover and the man of ambition…. And if they are to be what we were describing, is there not another quality which they should also possess?… Truthfulness: they will never intentionally receive into their minds falsehood, which is their detestation, and they will love the truth….He whose desires are drawn toward knowledge in every form will be absorbed in the pleasures of the soul, and will hardly feel bodily pleasure–I mean, if he be a true philosopher and not a sham one….Such a one is sure to be temperate and the reverse of covetous; for the motives which make another man desirous of having and spending, have no place in his character….Another criterion of the philosophical nature has also to be considered….Then, besides other qualities, we must try to find a naturally well-proportioned and gracious mind, which will move spontaneously toward the true being of everything…. Well, and do not all these qualities, which we have been enumerating, go together, and are they not, in a manner, necessary to a soul, which is to have a full and perfect participation of being?…And must not that be a blameless study which he only can pursue who has the gift of a good memory, and is quick to learn–noble, gracious, the friend of truth, justice, courage, temperance, who are his kindred?…And to men like him, I said, when perfected by years and education, and to these only you will entrust the State.

That’s JC de los Reyes: the philosopher who aspires to be a senator.  But JC never contented himself with the study of Philosophy or Theology.  He wishes to be a competent public servant.  That is why he studied Bachelor of Laws in the University of the Philippines and did post-graduate studies in Public Administration at St. Louis University in Baguio City.  That’s Magis.  That’s more.

Question 4: Does JC de los Reyes subscribe to Liberation Theology?

Yes, but only within the bounds set by Vatican, as defined by the Instruction on Certain Aspects of the “Theology of Liberation” which was signed by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) when he was the head of the Congregation for Doctrine and Faith.  The Instruction concludes:

The words of Paul VI in his “Profession of Faith”, express with full clarity the faith of the Church, from which one cannot deviate without provoking, besides spiritual disaster, new miseries and new types of slavery. “We profess our faith that the Kingdom of God, begun here below in the Church of Christ, is not of this world, whose form is passing away, and that its own growth cannot be confused with the progress of civilization, of science, and of human technology, but that it consists in knowing ever more deeply the unfathomable riches of Christ, to hope ever more strongly in things eternal, to respond ever more ardently to the love of God, to spread ever more widely grace and holiness among men. But it is this very same love which makes the Church constantly concerned for the true temporal good of mankind as well. Never ceasing to recall to her children that they have no lasting dwelling here on earth, she urges them also to contribute, each according to his own vocation and means, to the welfare of their earthly city, to promote justice, peace and brotherhood among men, to lavish their assistance on their brothers, especially on the poor and the most dispirited. The intense concern of the Church, the bride of Christ, for the needs of mankind, their joys and their hopes, their pains and their struggles, is nothing other than the great desire to be present to them in order to enlighten them with the light of Christ, and join them all to Him, their only Savior. It can never mean that the Church is conforming to the things of this world, nor that she is lessening the earnestness with which she awaits her Lord and the eternal Kingdom.” (Emphasis mine.)

Ang Kapatiran Senatorial candidates.  From left to right: Marwil Llasos, JC de los Reyes, and Lito Yap David.

Ang Kapatiran Senatorial candidates. From left to right: Marwil Llasos, JC de los Reyes, and Lito Yap David.

Question 5.  Is this passage where Ang Kapatiran Party got its name?

Brotherhood among men.  That’s what the Ang Kapatiran Party is all about: the brotherhood who “lavish their assistance on their brothers, especially on the poor and the most dispirited.”  That’s why JC de los Reyes joined the Ang Kapatiran Party: in order to serve the poor, not within the framework of class struggle as espoused by the Marxist Left–many of whom are now occupying positions of power in Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s administration–but within the framework of Catholic Social Doctrine as expressed in papal documents such as “Mater et Magistra,” “Pacem in Terris,” “Populorum progressio,” “Evangelii nuntiandi,” “Octogesima adveniens”, “Redemptor hominis”, “Dives in misericordia”,  “Laborem exercens,” and Second Vatican Council’s “Gaudium et Spes.”

Whether Ang Kapatiran Party got its name from this passage of the Instruction is not known.  But the concept of brotherhood of men is as old as Christianity itself.  First, we are all brothers and sisters because our Faith teaches us that we all came from the same parents: Adam and Eve.  Second, all baptized Christians become adopted sons and daughters of God, so that we call Christ as our brother and God as “Abba” or Father.  That is why, during the Mass, we have the courage to pray the “Our Father”.

Question 6. There is a useful concept in Liberation Theology: structures of sin. What for JC de los Reyes and the Ang Kapatiran Party are the structures of sin in Philippine Politics?

As stated in Cardinal Ratzinger’s Instruction:

Structures, whether they are good or bad, are the result of man’s actions and so are consequences more than causes. The root of evil, then, lies in free and responsible persons who have to be converted by the grace of Jesus Christ in order to live and act as new creatures in the love of neighbor and in the effective search for justice, self-control, and the exercise of virtue.

It is the duty of the Church to convert each man to Christ.  For its part, it is the duty of political parties such as the Ang Kapatiran Party to work for the establishment of good structures in government by crafting sound laws and ensure their implementation.  The Ang Kapatiran Party believes that there are many sinful structures that needs to be eradicated: pork barrel system, political dynasties, nontransparency and nonaccountability in governance, proliferation of loose firearms, and the RH law.  Please visit the Ang Kapatiran Party website for more detailed discussions of these issues.

7.  Is not Politics dirty?  How can Politics be a Vocation?

Politics has been perennially associated with the word “dirty,” because it is in politics that one meets  political butterflies, balimbings, rumor-mongers, character assassins, vote-buyers, boot-lickers, mud-slingers, and plastic men.  It is in politics that one crosses paths with druglords, warlords, and church groups crying, “Praise the Lord!”  Politics, indeed, is a dirty world–but a dirty world in need of redemption.  As JC de los Reyes wrote:

Please don’t be too mesmerized with track record and political experience. In Philippine politics, decades in power and experience means political survival, immoral compromise and corruption (jueteng payola). Track record often times is financed by the infamous pork barrel fund. Then they say, “I did this, I did that…” The big question is, what did you do and what will you do to contribute to PRINCIPLED POLITICS, a term that has been gagged side-lined and waylaid by trapos and demagogues.

For JC de los Reyes, politics can be a vocation, a path to holiness, for it is in politics that one can practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy on the scale of the barangay, the city, the province, and the country.  Most of the corporal works of mercy–feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, harbour the harbourless, visit the sick, ransom the captive, bury the dead–are handled by government and institutions such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).  On the other hand, most of the spiritual works of mercy–instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish sinners, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offences willingly, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead–are primarily the duties of the Catholic Church; the instruction of the ignorant is primarily addressed by Catholic Schools and it was only after the Americans took over the Philippine colony that the State intervened in education through the Public School System and the establishment of state universities such as the University of the Philippines.

JC de los Reyes with a supporter

JC de los Reyes with a supporter

8. What is the end or the ultimate goal of Politics?

The ultimate goal of politics is the salvation of man, because as St. Irenaeus said, “the great glory of God is man fully alive.” And this is not only in the here and now with the Millenium Development Goals and Happiness Index, but also in the life hereafter–heaven.  St. Ignatius tells us in his Spiritual Exercises to always begin with the end in mind.  And for a Catholic politician like JC de los Reyes, the end is the Last Judgment.  This would be terrifying thought for a politician who has not exercised his duties to his neighbors during their lives on earth:

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’44* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45 He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ (Mt 25:41-45)

With this end in mind, a Catholic politician like JC de los Reyes then performs his duties as demanded by his office, and prays the Prayer for Generosity of St. Ignatius:

Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do your will. Amen

As JC de los Reyes wrote:

The most profound victory not only for the Philippines but for humanity is if Ang Kapatiran Party can produce politicians or more aptly, political missionaries who have the purest of hearts and intentions, who do things not for votes but intensely out of love and compassion. Those who will ‘decrease, so He might increase,’ those who will ‘not let their right hand know what their left hand is doing,’ those who are ‘not lukewarm but cold or hot,’ those ‘who let their yes mean yes, and no mean no,’ and perhaps, those who will assume a faith journey whose victory is ‘now but not yet.’

That is why for JC de los Reyes of Ang Kapatiran Party, politics is a vocation.

(Full disclosure: The author, Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr., is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Physics of Ateneo de Manila University.  He finished his BS Physics (1997), MS Physics (1999), and Ph.D. in Physics (2010)  in Ateneo de Manila University.  Though he is not an official member of the Ang Kapatiran Party, Dr. Sugon campaigns online for the Ang Kapatiran senatorial candidates JC de los Reyes, Lito Yap David, and Marwil Llasos.)

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JC de los Reyes for senator: Iboto si JC dahil pogi?

JC de los Reyes for Senator: Pogi poster

JC de los Reyes for Senator: Pogi poster

Pork Barrel System: Should we scrap it or do we have an alternative?

JC Delos Reyes on Pork Barrel System

JC Delos Reyes on Pork Barrel System

“[The pork barrel] is left to the discretion of legislators who are politically motivated to put the money in projects that would make them popular. That’s the problem: It’s an immoral system.”–JC Delos Reyes, Senatorial Candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party.

In the Philippines, the pork barrel of each senator is Php 200 million and that of each representative is 70 million (Wikipedia).  Last 2011, for example, the Department of Budget and Management showed that 8 of the 23 senators spent at least 100 million of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).  Here’s a sample of how the senators spent from Yahoo News:

Angara allocated P40 million for the construction of a school building, multi-purpose pathways, and installation of pipes and tanks for water supply in Aurora; Lapid spent P31 million for infrastructure projects including the rehabilitation of a hospital, and construction of a school building and line canal in Pampanga; while Recto set aside P45 million for concreting of roads and purchasing of facilities for police stations in Batangas.

On the other hand, Estrada gave away P50 million in financial assistance to indigent farmers through the Department of Agriculture.

Honasan spent P40 million for the planting of jatropha, a plant touted as a source of biofuel but later discovered that it was not commercially viable. The Arroyo administration reportedly wasted more than P1 billion for this project.

Sotto set aside P28.5 million for infrastructure and educational projects in Pampanga, home province of his wife, actress Helen Gamboa.

Villar meanwhile allocated P39 million for scholarship programs in different provinces

The Department of Budget and Management has issued a National Budget Circular  last February 20, 2012 entitled, “Guidelines on the Release of Funds Chargeable Against the Priority Development Assistance Fund for FY 2012.”  The implementing agency can be the LGU (e.g. Provincial Governor or Mayor).  So what basically happens is that a senator or congressman has a project and he asks an LGU to implement the project.  In doing so, the LGU becomes beholden to the senator or congress who made that fund available to the LGU’s constituency.   If the senator or congressmen is at odds with the LGU, then access by the LGU to PDAF can be cut-off.  There are many things you can do with a 200 million or a 70 million.   Thus, a senator or congressman wields a considerable clout over the LGU’s.  In effect what they are saying before elections is this: “Support my candidacy and you will have a share in my PDAF.  Support me not and not a centavo you shall receive from me.”

Do we have other alternatives to this pork barrel system?  What I propose is this: remove the pork barrel of each senator and congressmen and give it directly to the LGUs.  Since the main purpose of the PDAF is to prioritize the poor, the money can be distributed to the LGU’s per capita, that is, according to the number of constituents.  Each barangay will then have its own allotment depending on the number of its constitutents.  The implementing agency becomes the mayors office or the governor’s office.  The money will be given provided that the Barangay Council gives a project proposal and the progress of the project is monitored.  All detailed costs of the project shall be made available in public through a website, with pictures of accomplishments.  I think this can be done.  The governors and mayors already have automatic budgets from the national government.  They can use these for making projects beyond the barangay level.  What senators and congressmen should therefore focus on are projects that are national or regional in scope that would affect the whole nation.  This is the principle of subsidiarity: let small groups handle what they can at their level, and the government only intervenes on the national or regional level.

John Carlos “JC” G. de los Reyes: Senatorial candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party

John Carlos “JC” G. de los Reyes: Senatorial candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party

John Carlos “JC” G. de los Reyes: Senatorial candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party

Born February 14, 1970, married to Dunia Valenzuela with four children, Gabriel 14, Santiago 12,Barbara, 10 and Juliana 1.

JC as he is known is owner/proprietor of Legobrick Systems and Designs (www.facebook.com/legobrickphilippines), managing director of Barbara’s Foods, Inc.  and sole proprietor of RJ Marine Allied and General Services, a company engaged in shipping services. He is at present, president of Ang Kapatiran Party, national political party, and President of the Intramuros Tourism Council.

He studied in Ateneo de Manila for his elementary education, and graduated in De la Salle for high school. He finished his B.A. in Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. In 1999 he finished his post-graduate studies in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines and has a law degree from Saint Louis University, Baguio City.

In 1993 he taught Philosophy in the then Center for Research and Communication, now the University of Asia and the Pacific, and was under the tutelage of Fr. Joseph de Torre, a Spanish priest of the Holy Cross who wrote extensively on the social teachings of the Church. This training led him to work with Fr. Joe Dizon, being lead animator of Solidarity Philippines, a movement to pro-actively advance the Social Teachings of the Church. In 1995, he ran and was elected City Councilor of Olongapo. During his term, he focused on the poor, the youth and cooperatives.

In 1996, JC met Nandy Pacheco in the National Renewal Movement. JC a new politician at age 25 was disappointed with the political party he joined as there was no emphasis on platform and principles. He was then a member of the Nacionalista Party in name but not in heart.

During this time President Ramos’ men were ramming down charter change as his term was to end in 1998. De Venecia’s Rainbow Coalition was the source of patronage and power. Also, that same time was wrought by fear and uncertainty for an Estrada presidency. This was the backdrop under which the National Renewal Movement was organizing.

In 1998, JC did not run for re-election out of disgust for patronage/trapo politics and campaigned for Santi Dumlao and Nandy Pacheco of National Renewal’s Bago Party. Unfortunately, they lost but the fire and zeal obviously did not end there. It was after this, and after intense prayer and discernment that it was a genuine accountable and responsible political party that was seen as the missing link for real reforms in Philippine Politics.

In late 2003, Norman Cabrera for Central Luzon, JC de los Reyes for Northern Luzon and Fr. Leonardo Polinar for the Visayas and Mindanao gathered the needed signatures for the accreditation of Alliance for the Common Good or Ang Kapatiran Party. It was finally accredited by COMELEC on 8 May 2004 or 2 days before the 10 May 2004 elections.

After a decade absent from local politics, JC ran under Kapatiran party in the 2007 elections and, among the party’s 30 local and national candidates, he was Kapatiran’s lone winner.

He campaigned against illegal drugs, rampant violations of worker’s rights at Hanjin and was outspoken against illegal fish cages in Olongapo. More recently, he also led protests against the proposed coal power plant and criticized government’s plan to open more casinos in Subic. He filed numerous cases before the Ombudsman against high ranking government officials where he himself was complainant.

In the 2010 national elections, he was the youngest presidential candidate who led the charge for new politics, together with a vice-president, 8 senatorial and 50 local candidates. Though they lost the election, they won the awareness of the people on issues such as the RH bill, the political dynasties issue, the FOI and the need for platform and principles based politics.

(Note: Thanks to Norman Cabrera of Ang Kapatiran Party for sharing to me this article.)

ANC: Three Ang Kapatiran Party senatorial bets file their candidacy

THE EDITED TRANSCRIPT:

KOKO: We’ll gonna go to Linda Homilla live at the Comelec. She is joined by more senatorial aspirants. Go ahead, Linda.

LINDA: Thanks, Koko. Well, we have here Mr. Lito David, Mr. JC de los Reyes, and Atty Marwil Llasos. Gentlemen, good afterrnoon. Thank you for joining us. Let me talk first to JC. Of course, a familiar face to our voters having run in 2010 presidential elections. How are you, JC.

JC: I am ok.

LINDA: What made you decide to run again.

JC: I was nominated by the party. I accepted. And my goal is to push the party platform and its principles.

LINDA: And of course Lito you also ran in 2010 as a senatorial candidate of JC.

LITO: I was asked again by the party. And I follow wishes of the party.

LINDA: And Atty. Llasos, you are a new comer to the party.

MARWIL: Yes, I am a political virgin. I am new to these things. That is why it is an experience for me.

LINDA: Of course, I am assuming that you will all have a central platform and legislation. And I’ll ask JC to be the spokesman.

JC: That’s what makes the Ang Kapatiran Party different. If there is someone who does not abide to the platform and principles, we remove him. Everybody will have to adhere to one symphony orchestra and one conductor. And that conductor is our platform. We are here to push the platform. Legislate the anti-political dynasty. Go all out against the pork barrel system. Those funds should be aligned to the priority projects of the smallest barangay. Then gun control that the Ang Kapatiran has been fighting for a long time. And fight for the FOI.

LINDA: I’ll ask you about the current issues. FOI—you are for FOI. How about the Cyber-Crime Law which is all the rage right now? Are you for it or amending it?

(JC gives the mike to Marwil)

MARWIL: Actually, yesterday I was interviewed in the radio. I said there are good provisions in the Cyber-Crime Provision Act. But there was inserted that is not good and this is fearsome because it is so repressive, for example the libel that was inserted in the Cyber-Crime Prevention Act. This is oppressive and is not proper to the democracy that must reign in our country. The Filipino people has no way out here. What gives me the reason to run for Senate in the coming elections, I saw that it is possible to insert a provision in the law that was not debated and the senators does not know. No public hearing. That is so contrary to the idea of parliamentary democracy: debate, discuss, and consult the Filipinos, especially the stakeholders in the law. So I see if that is how it is done, there is no hope for the people, it is time to change.

LINDA: Next issue: Reproductive health bill. There is a possibility that they may not pass it. There is a possibility that it may be carried over to the next Congress.

LITO: We will fight it out. In our party our stand is that it is not needed, because there are laws. And it is already in the mandate of the Department of Health the things that must be done for women, mothers, infants, and babies to be born. You do not need a new law if the intention is just money, because those who make condoms and contraceptives will have their life simpler. No more marketing is needed because the government will buy from them. And you know how much money one gets from those contraceptives and condoms? That one brand of condom how much they sold last year? 4 million pieces, 2 million pills, 1 million injectables, and 300,000 IUDs. That is big money. Especially if you put government money there. And the government will spend millions and millions for something that is not needed by our women.

LINDA: Alright. Thank you very much for your time gentlemen and we wish you luck in the coming campaign. Koko, Those are the candidates for Ang Kapatiran party.

KOKO: Thank you very much, stay tuned.

Archbishops Ramon Arguelles and Vicente Navarra support Ang Kapatiran Party’s presidential candidate J. C. de los Reyes

At least two senior prelates came out in the open Thursday expressing their full support for Ang Kapatiran’s standard bearer John Carlos “JC” De Los Reyes.  Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra and Lipa Archbishop said they will firmly stand for what they believe is “right” and “necessary”.

“I guess it’s time for us to come out,” Navarra said. “It’s really a matter of conscience this time. That is what my conscience is telling me so I will stand for what I believe is right.”  The prelate said he is endorsing De Los Reyes and other Ang Kapatiran bets because of their commitment to the Catholic Church’s social teachings.  Navarra said he is engaging in partisan politics this time to be “consistent” with his advocacy for good governance and eradication of graft and corruption.  “They’re the ones with clear sincerity in bringing political change to our country. They also stood up to the principles supported by the Church,” he said.

Arguelles, however, admitted that De Los Reyes’ winnability in the presidential race, as surveys show, is “slim” but said he would still support him.  “There’s no vote that is wasted on a candidate you believe could bring real change, whether he wins or not,” he said.

Source: CBCP News

De los Reyes, Ang Kapatiran’s standard bearer, has expressed elation Thursday after two Catholic bishops endorsed his candidacy.  “In behalf of the party, I am humbled, happy and highly encouraged. This is the best incentive for all of us in Kapatiran to work harder to evangelize and reform politics,” he told the CBCPNews.   De los Reyes said the rare endorsements by the bishops will spur them to work harder in a bid to win the top government posts.  “The bishops’ affirmation of what we in Ang Kapatiran are doing to introduce a prophetic politics of personal and social transformation in our country, in a holistic and integral manner, gives us encouragement to continue fighting the good fight,” he added.

Ang Kapatiran had claimed that their formation was in response to the call of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II) for the lay faithful “to participate actively and lead in the renewing of politics in accordance with values of the Good News of Jesus”. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)