BACOLOD CITY, Philippines—Seven senatorial candidates said they were saddened by the decision of the Diocese of Bacolod to tag them “Team Patay,” the collective name the diocese has given to candidates it is campaigning against for supporting passage of the reproductive health law.
They maintained that the law the Church was opposing did not contain provisions that promote abortion.
Senator Franklin Drilon, Team PNoy campaign manager, said while they were saddened by the position of the diocese, they would continue to try to convince the people that the administration ticket deserves support.
Five senatorial candidates the Team Patay list are from the administration ticket. They are Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano and Risa Hontiveros.
The two others are independent candidate Teddy Casiño and Jack Enrile of the United Nationalist Alliance.
Casiño said being tagged as anti-life was unfair because his stand on RH was based on his concern for life and health of women and children.
“The RH law will educate Filipino families to become more sensitive to the challenges of parenthood and caring for a child. Is this what they mean as anti-life?” he said.
“The RH Law does not kill,” said Enrile in a statement. “Hunger does.”
He said 20 million Filipinos are hungry every day and their plight deserves more attention than the seemingly endless debate on reproductive health.
Angara said the Bacolod diocese listing was the diocese’s prerogative. He admitted, however, that it was disappointing that the diocese based its choice of candidates on one issue alone.
Legarda said she respected the stand of the diocese “but if you read the reproductive health bill which I voted for, it is very clear there is no abortion.” She said the law is designed to help women meet their health needs.
Hontiveros said she respected the stand of the diocese even if she didn’t agree with it.
Some Team PNoy senatorial candidates were in Negros Occidental on Friday to hold a series of lightning rallies.
The sorties ended with a rally on Friday at the Bacolod public plaza attended by 10,000 people.