BACOLOD CITY—A member of the clergy here will not follow the example set by other Church leaders in putting up the controversial Team Patay-Team Buhay tarpaulin, saying it is “unchristian” to malign people.
Msgr. Victorino Rivas, rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and judicial vicar of the Diocese of Bacolod, said it was also a violation of the canon law to name candidates whom the Church favors or opposes.
But Rivas clarified that he still opposed the reproductive health (RH) law as shown by red flags flown at the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which is also known as Redemptorist Church, in Bacolod City.
But he said he believed it was “unchristian and offensive” to tag candidates who supported the RH law as members of Team Patay.
“As a priest, I am sensitive about maligning people,” Rivas said.
“As Christians, we must denounce what is wrong, but the person believed to be erring still has the right to be respected, heard and given human dignity, as stated in the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom,” he said.
Rivas said under the canon law, the Church should not name candidates to support or reject because it is tantamount to taking part in partisan politics.
Rivas has a doctorate in canon law and is also the president of Pope John Paul II National Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Bacolod City.
The monsignor also said the Church needed to heed the law over the controversial tarpaulin in front of San Sebastian Cathedral which the Commission on Elections ordered removed for being an oversized election material.
Rivas said other priests in the diocese of Bacolod shared his position.
He said he was not opposing Bishop Vicente Navarra of the Bacolod Diocese but merely expressing his personal views.
Senatorial candidates Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Teddy Casiño and Jack Enrile, and party-list groups Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Akbayan and Anak Pawis are on the Team Patay list.
Senatorial candidates Joseph Victor Ejercito-Estrada, Antonio Trillanes, Gregorio Honasan, Mitos Magsaysay, Koko Pimentel and Cynthia Villar are on the Team Buhay list.