04/13/2022, 16.32
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Card Advincula to wash the feet of new voters and election officials

On Holy Thursday, the archbishop of Manila will perform the symbolic deed ahead of the 9 May election, which will determine President Duterte's successor. The 12 include a journalist, a reminder of the importance of accurate information in a true democracy.

Manila (AsiaNews) – A few weeks before Filipinos go to the polls on 9 May, Archbishop Cardinal José Advincula of Manila chose 12 people for the ritual of washing the feet on Holy Thursday. Each is symbolically connected to the election and the importance of voting transparency.

Over 65 million Filipinos are eligible to choose a new president and vice-president, as well as 12 senators and local officials.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr, is leading in the polls. His running rate, Sara Duterte, is the daughter of the outgoing president, Rodrigo Duterte. The current vice president Leni Robredo is Marcos’s main rival.

The cardinal will perform the washing of the feet at Manila’s cathedral during the Coena Domini Mass.

The people he chose include three young first-time voters, two members of the Electoral Board, three officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), three members of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, and a member of the media.

The decision to include a journalist, whose role is to report the electoral campaign, is significant in a country where some of the dominant issues in the campaign are the attempts to whitewash the dictatorial rule of the senior Marcos and the unscrupulous use of social media to influence political choices, a practice denounced by Maria Ressa, recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

In a pastoral letter dated 27 March, the country’s bishops called on voters to elect candidates who will improve the lives of people, especially the poor and vulnerable.

“We need competent leaders and lawmakers with sincere intentions to serve the welfare of our communities,” wrote Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, who is president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

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