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Filipino bishops say voting is not a moral duty

Roman Catholic bishops in the Philippines, in a pastoral letter, have said voting is not a moral duty in what they termed ''these far from normal times.'' The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, in a pastoral statement read Sunday in churches throughout the nation, said it is a matter of individual conscience whether to participate in a proposed boycott of coming elections.

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Filipinos are to vote on proposed electoral reforms and restoration of the post of vice-president in a Jan. 27 plebiscite and again in May parliamentary elections. The opposition is split on whether to boycott the polls.

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