The Administrative Council of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, acting in behalf of the Conference, at its meeting held in Cebu City on September 28, 1976, deemed it necessary to give our Catholic people norms for the guidance of their conscience in the forthcoming referendum-plebiscite in October. We are not interfering in purely political issues; we are rather concerned with the moral side of the exercise of responsible citizenship.
We recall that we issued guidelines during the past referendum suited to the circumstances of that time. We believe that the circumstances prevailing today, are not the same as those obtaining in that referendum. For one thing, what the government decrees now, is not only a referendum but also a plebiscite. The people are asked to amend certain provisions of the present Constitution. On the other hand, we do not want to prejudge the sincerity of the government when it solemnly gives assurances both of complete freedom in casting our vote, and of honesty in the actual counting of the votes.
In view of the foregoing, we would like to tell our people that it is basically a moral duty a) to vote in obedience to a legitimately established law of the land; and b) to vote in accordance with a well-informed conscience, after a serious reflection on the issues involved.
We hope and pray that we shall all perform our duty courageously.
For the Administrative Council:
(Sgd.)+JULIO R. CARDINAL ROSALES
Archbishop of Cebu
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
September 28, 1976