BACOLOD BISHOP DEFIES COMELEC ON ‘TEAM PATAY’ POSTER, APPEALS TO SUPREME COURT!

BACOLOD BISHOP DEFIES COMELEC ON ‘TEAM PATAY’ POSTER, APPEALS TO SUPREME COURT!

TEAM BUHAY VS. TEAM PATAY

TEAM BUHAY VS. TEAM PATAY

Bacolod bishop defies Comelec order to take down ‘Team Patay’ tarpaulin

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5:40 pm | Thursday, February 28th, 2013

– See more at: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/366611/bacolod-bishop-defies-comelec-order-to-take-down-team-patay-tarpaulin#sthash.kXN7UgbA.dpuf

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines—Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra said Thursday he would not take down an oversized tarpaulin listing the names of candidates his diocese supports and those it spurns as directed by the Commission on Elections but would instead put up more such posters at other churches in the diocese.

Navarra was responding to a directive from Esmeralda Amora-Ladra, director of the Comelec’s legal department, that he remove the “Team Patay/Team Buhay” tarpaulin in front of the San Sebastian Cathedral. She warned the bishop could be charged with an election offense if the poster was not removed.

Amora-Ladra’s letter addressed to Navarra was sent by fax to the Comelec Bacolod office on Wednesday night.

But Navarra remained defiant.

He told a news conference on Thursday that the diocese’s Team Buhay/Team Patay tarpaulin would be replicated at other Catholic churches throughout the Bacolod diocese.

He said also that the Diocese of Tarlac had informed him that similar tarpaulins would be installed in churches in the province.

Navarra maintained that the tarpaulin was not put up to spite anyone. The diocese was expressing its stand that the Reproductive Health Law must be repealed because it was an insult to God, he said.

“Infringing on the right to life was an infringement on all other rights,” he added.

Navarra’s lawyers also maintained that the order of the Comelec to take down the tarpaulin was both unconstitutional and a threat.

“The tarpaulin is not illegal. It will not be taken down. And the bishop is prepared to go to jail if necessary to stand up for what he believes in although that is not likely to happen,” said Ralph Sarmiento, dean of the University of Saint La Salle College of Law in Bacolod City.

He said at the same news conference  that he and the bishop’s legal team would defend the bishop and the Diocese of Bacolod and their freedom of expression.

Aside from Sarmiento, other members of the panel fielding questions at the press conference were Mitchelle Abella and Raymundo Pandan Jr.

Sarmiento said the Diocese didn’t violate any Comelec rule because the tarpaulin was not an election campaign material but a continuation of the Diocese’s campaign against the Reproductive Health Law.

Last Feb. 22, Bacolod Election Officer Mavil Majarucon-Sia asked Navarra to remove the tarpaulin that identified the senatorial candidates who should be supported and those who should be rejected because of their position on the RH Law.

Seven senatorial candidates have been tagged by the diocese as members of “Team Patay.” They are Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Teddy Casiño and Jack Enrile.

The partylist groups Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Akbayan and Anak Pawis are also on  the “Team Patay” list.

The six senatorial candidates on the diocese’s  “Team Buhay” are Joseph Victor Ejercito-Estrada, Antonio Trillanes, Gregorio Honasan, Mitos Magsaysay, Koko Pimentel and Cynthia Villar.

The Comelec said the diocese violated the election law that limits the size of campaign posters.

The diocese’s tarpaulin is six feet by 10 feet while the allowable size is only two feet by three feet.

Amora-Ladra in her letter called on the Catholic Church to set an example.

“We pray that the Catholic Church will be the first institution to help the Commission on Elections in ensuring the conduct of peaceful, orderly, honest and credible elections,” Amora-Ladra wrote.

– See more at: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/366611/bacolod-bishop-defies-comelec-order-to-take-down-team-patay-tarpaulin#sthash.kXN7UgbA.dpuf

Bacolod Bishop to SC: Stop Comelec from removing poll tarpaulins in church

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5:18 pm | Friday, March 1st, 2013

– See more at: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/367165/bacolod-bishop-to-sc-stop-comelec-from-removing-poll-tarpaulins-in-church#sthash.dlrJvNSu.dpuf

BACOLOD CITY— Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra on Friday asked the Supreme Court to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from implementing its order to remove the Team Buhay and Team Patay tarpaulins placed in front of the San Sebastian Cathedral in this city.

The Diocese of Bacolod and Navarra filed an urgent petition for certiorari and prohibition, asking the High Tribunal to declare the Comelec order as unconstitutional and void.

The petitioners asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or a writ of preliminary injunction to stop the respondents, Comelec and Bacolod election officer Mavil V. Majarucon-Sia, from enforcing their orders to remove the tarpaulins.

They maintained that the Comelec orders were unconstitutional because these infringed on the petitioners’ freedom of expression and violated the principle of separation of Church and State.

“[The] Petitioners’ position against the RH Law is not only a matter of exercise of its freedom of expression and of conscience but is also a matter of Catholic faith, morals, belief, and of duty,” they said in their petition.

On February 22, Majarucon-Sia issued a notice asking the petitioners to remove the tarpaulins because these were oversized in violation of the Comelec regulations on campaign materials in private properties.

When the diocese did not comply with the notice, the Comelec legal department director Esmeralda Amora-Ladra issued an order on February 27, asking Navarra to remove the tarpaulin immediately or be charged with an election offense.

Amora-Ladra in her letter had called on the Catholic Church to set an example.

“We pray that the Catholic Church will be the first institution to help the Commission on Elections in ensuring the conduct of peaceful, orderly, honest and credible elections,” Amora-Ladra wrote.

But the petitioners claimed that in issuing the orders, the respondents committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

In a press conference on Thursday, Navarra said the “Team Patay/Team Buhay” tarpaulin and the red flags at the cathedral would stay, and would even be replicated in churches throughout the Bacolod Diocese.

Navarra’s lawyer, Ralph Sarmiento, maintained that the tarpaulins were not illegal.

“It will not be taken down. And the bishop is prepared to go to jail if necessary to stand up for what he believes in although that is not likely to happen,” said Sarmiento, dean of the University of Saint La Salle College of Law in Bacolod City.

He stressed that the Diocese didn’t violate any Comelec rule because the tarpaulin was not an election campaign material but a continuation of the Diocese’s campaign against the Reproductive Health Law.

Navarra maintained that their tarpaulin was not put up to spite anyone as they were merely expressing their stand that the RH Law must be repealed because it is an insult to God.
“Infringing on the right to life was an infringement on all other rights,” he added.

Seven senatorial candidates were tagged by the diocese as members of “Team Patay” for having voted for the approval of the RH law.

They are Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Teddy Casiño and Jack Enrile.

Partylist groups Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Akbayan and Anak Pawis are also on the “Team Patay” list.

Six senatorial candidates, Joseph Victor Ejercito-Estrada, Antonio Trillanes, Gregorio Honasan, Mitos Magsaysay, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel and Cynthia Villar, were in the Team Buhay list for opposing the RH Law.

SOURCE:  http://www.splendorofthechurch.com.ph/2013/03/02/bacolod-bishop-defies-comelec-on-team-patay-poster-appeals-to-supreme-court/

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