CBCP executive secretary Melvin Castro
THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on Wednesday said Filipinos may expect more Team Patay/Team Buhay posters to emerge after the Supreme Court stopped the Commission on Elections from removing the tarpaulin on the wall of the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City.
Melvin Castro, the CBCP’s executive secretary, said at least five dioceses had signified their intension to replicate the Team Patay/Team Buhay poster in Bacolod.
“The Archdiocese of Lipa, Dioceses of Tarlac, Sorsogon, Kidapawan and Borongan are the dioceses that have signified their intention to replicate the one in Bacolod,” Castro told a forum in Manila.
“This is spreading like wildfire to show the opposition of the Church to this immoral Reproductive Health Law.”
Castro said the Diocese of Tarlac will launch its poster next week to coincide with the start of the campaign of a certain political team.
“I don’t want to be naughty, but it will be on the same week when a senatorial slate of a certain party will be there. I think it’s on March 14 or before,” Castro said.
He said the remaining four dioceses would also start putting up their posters in their churches before the Holy Week observance.
Castro made his statement even as the Comelec on Wednesday said it will comply with the Supreme Court’s order on Tuesday stopping it from asking Bishop Vicente Navarra to remove the poster on the wall of the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City that the Comelec says is oversized.
But Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the poll body will stand firm that the Team Patay and Team Buhay poster is illegal election propaganda and covered by election laws.
“We will comply with the TRO [temporary restraining order] but maintain that the poster of the Bacolod Diocese violates campaign laws and regulations,” Brillantes said.
“We also respectfully submit that [the high court] has no jurisdiction over the petition assailing the mere letter of our election officer and our law department.”
Brillantes was referring to the letter that the Comelec sent to the Diocese of Bacolod asking it to remove the poster that identifies which senatorial candidates and party-list organizations to support or reject based on their stance on the Reproductive Health Law.
The Church is opposed to that law and had supported the lawmakers opposing it when it was still a bill while condemning those in favor of it.
The "Team Patay" senatorial bets who supported the RH bill were Liberal Party bets Senators Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Loren Legarda, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara and former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros. The two others were independent candidate Rep Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna party-list and Jack Enrile of Cagayan who is with the United Nationalist Alliance.
“Team Buhay,” according to the Church, is composed of Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Aquilino Pimentel III and former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar who are also from Team PNoy.
The others who are from UNA are Senator Gregorio Honasan and representatives Joseph Victor Ejercito-Estrada of San Juan and Mitos Magsaysay of Zambales. – Manila Standard Today