In an under-the-radar video released on February 10, 2019, Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, current archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan in Pangasinan, urged voters in the May 2019 election to choose politicians who recognize that “ang human sexuality ay banal (human sexuality is sacred).”
By this, Villegas meant that “sinumang gumagamit ng human sexuality para sa sariling sarap, sariling ginhawa, sariling kapakanan ay lumalabag sa kalooban ng Diyos (whoever uses human sexuality for personal gratification, personal comfort, personal good/benefit is violating the will of God).”
The video from the former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) – titled “Bumoto ng Tama: Gabay sa Pagpili (Vote wisely: Guide to choosing)” – starts with a disclaimer that “kami pong mga obispo ay hindi magsasabi sa inyo kung sino ang iboto subalit kami po ay tutulong sa inyo upang makilala ang kalooban ng Diyos (we – bishops – will not tell you who to vote for, but we will help you discern the will of God).”
This seeming disclaimer may sit well with advocates of the separation of Church and State, as stipulated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which declares that “The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable (Article II, Section 6).”
But the same won’t sit well if they see it as just a cover to appear as if the Church is not intervening in the affairs of the State.
In his just-under-20-minute speech, Villegas said that when voting, the criteria should – in the end – still return to the Ten Commandments.
He specifically stressed for people not to vote for those who do not believe in God, or those whose mission is to remove religion on the surface of the planet; and to be cautious when voting for those who have unsavory words of speaking since “ang pagmumura ay labag sa kagandahang asal (speaking with invectives is against good etiquette).”
Villegas also touched on the “tyranny of performance”, or those politicians who always work (“kilos nang kilos, gawa nang gawa”) and “hindi binibigyan ng pagkakataon ang sarili para makapagpahinga (not giving him/herself chance to rest)”; those who belong to political dynasties; those who see criminals as less-than-humans (“na ang tingin sa kriminal ay hayop”); those who steal; those who lie; and those who look down on women.
Villegas similarly stressed the Church’s position against politicians who support divorce, abortion, and those who commit adultery – all these lumped with LGBTQIA issues (e.g. marriage equality/“homosexual union”) – in an elaborate discussion of the sixth commandment (Thou shalt not commit adultery).
The Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines continues to be only partially supportive of LGBTQIA human rights. Until 2015, it staunchly opposed the passage of an anti-discrimination bill, erroneously insisting it will lead to marriage equality, even if the bill never made mention of the latter. In 2015, CBCP released a statement partially supporting an ADB, even if it stressed its desire to still be allowed to discriminate, particularly in: 1) determining who should be admitted to priestly or religious formation, who should be ordained and received into Holy Order, or who should be professed as members of religious communities and orders; and 2) for Catholic schools to be allowed to discriminate on who they can admit or retain.
The CBCP also stressed its “love the sinner, hate the sin” position by claiming its “disapproval of homosexual acts (that) remains part of the Church’s moral teaching.”