By Leslie Ann Aquino
With the start of the campaign period, a number of dioceses have issued a directive prohibiting the posting of political tarpaulins in church premises.
Among these is the Diocese of Balanga in Bataan, which is headed by Bishop Ruperto Santos.
“We have pastoral directive that there will be no political tarpaulins in any church patio and fences,” he said in an interview.
Santos said a political candidate will also not be allowed to offer during the offertory processions.
Anyone who is working for political candidate and has any parish position must take a leave of absence from their church duties, he said.
Last December, Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona also issued a similar directive in his archdiocese.
“It is prohibited to allow the posting of any candidate’s or political party’s political advertisement (tarpaulin, banners, stickers, etc) in church property including political rallies in church premises,” read his circular letter addressed to his priests.
Tirona prohibited his priests from conducting mass weddings, Baptisms, and Confirmation under the sponsorship of any political candidate or political party.
Priests are also prohibited to solicit from political candidates or political parties donation for church renovation and constructions or other church projects that may compromise the non-partisanship of the Church during the campaign and election process.
“It is prohibited for any priest to openly and directly campaign for a particular political party or candidate,” he said.
However, Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes did not anymore issue the same in his diocese saying the people already know that it is forbidden.
The campaign period for those running for national posts is from February 12 to May 11.
For local positions, candidates may campaign from March 29 to May 11.