MANILA, March 5, 2013—A ranking Catholic Church official called on the Commission on Elections to respect the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order against their order to remove the controversial tarpaulin at the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City.
Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president, said the court has made a decision for the meantime and it should be respected.
“In the land, they are the people who interpret the law. As people, we should also be law-abiding citizens. So if that is what the SC says, then sorry to the Comelec,” Palma said.
Aside from the TRO, the high tribunal also ordered an oral argument on the case on March 19 in Manila and gave the poll body 10 days to comment on the petition filed by Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra.
The poll body earlier ordered the diocese to take down the tarpaulins for supposedly violating the Comelec regulation on campaign materials in private properties.
The tarpaulin lists down some names of senatorial candidates in the upcoming May elections and their stand on the Reproductive Health (RH) Law.
The bets tagged as members of ‘Team Patay’ are Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Risa Hontiveros, Teddy Casiño and Jack Enrile.
Party-list groups Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Akbayan and Anak Pawis are also on the Team Patay list.
The six senatorial bets on the diocese’s “Team Buhay” are Joseph Victor Ejercito-Estrada, Antonio Trillanes, Gregorio Honasan, Mitos Magsaysay, Koko Pimentel and Cynthia Villar.
The CBCP head said the Comelec has the right to enforce the law but the question that must be resolved is whether the diocese “bounced out” from its ruling.
“In truth, what they have done is just to tell the people that this is how the candidates in the past voted (over the RH bill)… you should see for yourselves,” said Palma.
More dioceses are also expected to follow the move started by the Bacolod diocese in naming candidates and their stance on the RH law. (CBCPNews)