Religious groups in the Philippines are leaving no stone unturned to help the Commission on Elections by offering church services and prayers in most churches nationwide, hoping for a peaceful, honest and orderly election on May 10.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the National Council of Churches of the Philippines (NCCP) have jointly called on the electorate to be vigilant in the exercise of their rights of suffrage and to be watchful of incidents that could put the credibility of Monday's election in question.
Church bells will toll in churches nationwide on Monday morning to signal the start of the country's first automated elections. Masses will be celebrated in most churches and celebrants are expected to say prayers for the peaceful, honest and orderly conduct of the national elections.
On Monday, May 10 the country will elect a President, Vice-President, Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Vice-Governors, Mayors, Vice-Mayors and city and town councilors.
There is a need to storm the heavens with prayers because of all the misgivings and doubts about the automated election process, said Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, the media director of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
“The situation right now really calls for prayer and vigilance,” he told reporters.
Monday's first automated election is being threatened by unexpected technical glitch that surfaced last week when the brand new vote counting machines supplied by a Venezuelan-led consortium failed to count the votes of local officials in a mock election conducted in some pilot areas of the country.
The technical glitch caused the Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials to panic as there was a little time to replace the memory cards of the counting machines which were found to be the culprit of the glitch.
As of Friday, Comelec said it has solved the problem and announced election will be held as scheduled on Monday May 10.
Earlier this week, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales joined a prayer session at the Comelec to seek divine intervention for the poll body in the midst of its latest crisis, when voting machines failed to read the ballots accurately during test runs.