A Catholic bishop appealed to the country’s political leaders to remain open to dissent and criticism in the wake of last week’s local and national elections.
Bishop Raul Dael of Tandag, in a pastoral letter, said that dissent is a “form of service” given to public leaders for free.
“In your years of service, remain open to dissenting opinions. It will widen your perspective,” Dael said. “If handled maturely, it will bring out the best in you as a public servant.”
The bishop made the statement as he asked the winning candidates to reach out even to those who did not vote for them. “Show goodness and respect to your opponents,” he said.
In one part of his letter, Dael also lamented the “massive vote buying and vote selling” in Surigao del Sur during the May 9 elections.
He said there is no denying that many received huge amounts of money from politicians in exchange for their “sacred votes”.
“Our province, in the midst of our adversity, has perhaps the largest voter exchange rate in the entire country,” Dael said. “Are we supposed to be proud of this?”
Addressing those who lost in the elections, he expressed hope that their “passion to serve humanity in another way remain”.