About a hundred priests from Bulacan attended the townhall meeting that was organized by Msgr. Bert Suatengco at the Diocesan Formation Center in Guiguinto Bulacan on April 18, 2016. Almost 40 percent of the priest-participants expressed the need for discernment and did not participate in the voting exercise. They said that they are still in the process of reflection with the help of the Holy Spirit.
The discussion of the lost opportunities of the Philippines due to corruption by Prof. Monsod served as a prelude to the townhall. She highlighted why political dynasties have to be stopped.
The priests then stood up to discuss their choices for the Presidency. One participant said he found it difficult to choose Roxas because of the appointment of Sec. Abaya at DOTC and because of the very bad service that the MRT provides. Another stood up and said it was unfair for Roxas to be blamed for all the problems of government. He clarified that appointments are made by the President and not by Roxas. Another priest vouched for Roxas because of his integrity. A young priest said he chose Santiago because of her intelligence. Another said he will vote for Poe but did not explain the reason why. The priest who chose Binay said that he has done some good although he is alleged to be corrupt.
The performance of former Governor de la Cuz and Alvarado was ably compared by a priest who used to work with the provincial hospital. He deplored the practice of perpetual patronage under Gov. Alvarado with Internal Revenue Allotments being withheld for barangay leaders who are not allies of the Governor. He expressed hope that under the leadership of Gov. De La Cruz, the needed health service delivery especially to the poor would be revived. The COA reports on the disallowances and suspension of millions of expenditures of Gov. Alvarado were reviewed during the meeting.
The challenge of enabling voters to base their choices based on the integrity and performance of the candidates was raised by another priest. He said that voters are influenced by personalities and popularity of the candidates. However, he encouraged his colleagues to keep on trying to help voters to choose the candidates who are sincere and who will serve the country well.
Atty. Christian Monsod capped the townhall meeting by emphasizing the need for leaders who will heed the call to help the poor particularly the farmers. He informed the participants of the loopholes in the law that politicians and businesses take advantage of to be exempt from the Agrarian Reform Program and the provision of credit to farmers.
Roxas was the choice of 63% of the voters during the post -voting. During the first voting, he only got 33 percent of the votes.
Robredo was the predominant choice getting 72% of the first voting and 85% during the second vote.
Access to information made 100% of the priests who voted to choose Former Governor de la Cruz over Gov. Alvarado.
Results of the townhall meeting (60 participants):
|de la Cruz||84%||100%|