Priest to run in barangay polls
HE was scheduled to leave the Cebu Archdiocese and move to the US, but Fr. Oscar Banzon chose to temporarily set aside his plans to run for chairman of barangay Kawit in Medellin town.
Last Wednesday, Banzon filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Medellin town, north Cebu. He will run against incumbent chairman Charito Areglado.
Fr. Banzon goes by his campaign nickname "Padre."
But Msgr. Esteban Binghay, episcopal vicar of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said any priest who seeks a position in government shall be meted with suspension.
"The mere filing of a COC would entail a suspension for any priest. While politics is part of our service, it would only be up to evangelizing this particular field. Partisan politics is basically prohibited in the Catholic Church," he said.
Binghay, a canon lawyer, said any priest who files a COC will not be allowed from celebrating the sacraments which include saying mass, hearing confessions and solemnizing marriages. Binghay said Banzon was formerly a priest of Minglanilla town where the monsignor was the parish priest. Earlier, Banzon reportedly sought the permission of the Cebu Archdiocese for him to go and serve as a priest in the US. He said Banzon may need to apologize to Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma or other bishops for filing a COC.
With the start of the campaign period today, candidates for barangays and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) were barred from helping in the distribution of relief goods for earthquake victims.
Comelec Provincial Election Officer Ferdinand Gujilde said spouses of candidates and relatives up to the second degree of affinity are covered by the campaign prohibition which starts today and ends on Nov. 12. Gujilde said the distribution should be delegated to the Philippine National Red Cross. Violators will be penalized and face possible disqualification.