Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP President

Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP President

MANILA, June 30, 2013— The head of the Catholic bishops’ leadership has challenged newly-assumed government leaders to set aside political differences and work together for development.

Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said that a strong message should go to the people that public officials are there to serve.

“It’s not enough to thank the people for electing them and then do nothing. More importantly, the question is what legacy can you leave to the people that elected you,” Palma said.

“You should be more serious (in helping) not because you’re a public official but because you know you have a responsibility that is very sacred and have an important mandate,” he said.

The country’s newly-elected local and national officials formally assume their posts on Sunday.

The CBCP head particularly called on new and old members of the Lower House to attend sessions, since it is where important measures is being discussed.

“They know what they entered into. And they should also know they are not supposed to be like that (frequent absentee),” said Palma.

Last week, reports came out that Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao and Negros Occidental Rep. Jules Ledesma shared the top spot in the list of absentee lawmakers during the 15th Congress.

The Attendance Record of House of Representatives showed that the two lawmakers had 60 absences out of 168 session days spanning from July 26, 2010 to June 6, 2013. (CBCPNews)