By Bishop Crispin B. Varquez
From the time of Creation, God ordained that human beings take responsibility over those who or which are entrusted to them. God instructed Adam and Eve to have dominion over all creation. We can see this practice of responsibility over others even in the basic unit of society, the family. The parents take charge of the well-being of the family and they give the best of themselves to care for their children. In society, some people take charge of the well-being of the rest of the community. We hear often that our town mayors, for example, are referred to as the “Amay/Iroy han Bungto”. I often hear myself being called “Amay hiton aton Diocese”. We call the leader chosen by Christ to succeed St. Peter in caring for His Church our “Santo Papa”. By the nature of our creation, we need some people to take care of us, as individuals or as a group. We look upon those who care for us as having ‘parenting’ roles over us.
Being a democratic country, we hold the privilege of choosing who may take care of us politically. It is good to choose those whom we trust, those whom we can trust because they will be our caretakers and servants. Yet, by choosing them, we give them the power to make decisions that will surely affect us and shape our history and in the long run, even culture.
This process of choosing is what we call ‘election’. Every election event is a chance for us to choose our caretakers and public servants well. The reason why there is a campaign period is for us to get to know their abilities, their ideals and vision, and their motives for aspiring to “serve” us. If we freely choose by the help of our conscience, we give ourselves, our families and our society the best caretakers who can make good decisions for the benefit of the common good but especially for those who are most vulnerable.
It is, therefore, necessary that we choose in freedom. Our choice should be motivated by real concern for the good of all in the present and in the future. It is our responsibility to elect those whom we can truly trust that will use our common resources for the benefit of everybody. We will be answerable to ourselves and to our children if we allow our choice to be influenced by selfish or short-term motives and a lack of freedom influenced by factors other than our conscience.
The kind of leaders we elect would reflect our values. Whom we choose would tell who we are. If we choose honest and dedicated leaders who put the interest of others before their own, then we are also a people who are honest and selfless.
We pray that those who have the gifts of responsible service and genuine concern for the welfare of people would find the courage to make themselves available to be chosen by the people.
We pray that we may be free and strong enough to choose public servants who, like our Lord Jesus, come to serve and not to be served.
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