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Ladlad party appeals to join 2010 polls

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 19:54:00 11/18/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Politics, Inquirer Politics, Elections

MANILA, Philippines?Head of gay party list group ``Ang ladlad?? Danton Remoto on Wednesday filed a motion for reconsideration before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to allow it to join the 2010 elections.

In his eight-page petition, Remoto said the Comelec resolution that junked their petition for accreditation was based on ?mis-appreciation of facts.??

Remoto said the resolution does not establish the immorality of the petitioner and its subject was contrary to constitution and laws.

?No evidence or record establishes the immorality of the petitioner or its officials and members. With this petition, we seek a more legally-oriented decision from the en banc headed by Chairman Jose Melo,? said Remoto, a former professor with the Ateneo de Manila University and officer of the UN Development Programme.

The focal point of the group is to ?represent marginalized sector of society disadvantaged merely because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,? said Remoto.

The Comelec second division, which is headed by Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer, junked the group's petition for accreditation on November 11 citing its advocacy of ?immoral doctrines? such as ?intimate and sexual relations with individuals of a different gender, of the same gender, or more than one gender."

?The advocacy for intimate sexual relations reflected that that ?petitioner [Ang Ladlad] tolerates immorality, which offends religious beliefs. This petition is dismissible on moral grounds,? said Ferrer, when the resolution was promulgated.

However, Remoto said the Commission en banc should look into the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that ?the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights.?

Remoto explained: ?Majority of LGBT or lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders in the country are marginalized in terms of economics and are under-represented in the country. They say that there are gays in Congress and Senate but despite that, they do not advocate or fight for our rights so we wanted to gain representation because it is our civil and political right.?

?And if Commissioner Ferrer would say there are gays in Congress and Senate, he should have the intellectual fortitude to name them,? said Remoto.

In a letter to the Comelec on Wednesday, Rene Saguisag, chairman of Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism Inc. (MABINI) chairman demanded an apology from Comelec on the decision. He said he was ?saddened by the Comelec ruling against Ang Ladlad because it cited the Bible and Koran against Danton Remoto and his group.?

The former chief of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also wrote that ?Section 5 of the Bill of Rights says, 'No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil and political rights.' LGBT or lesbian, gender, bisexual or transgender represents a status we need to deal with or simply accept. Like the US, we believe in the separation of the church and state.?

Remoto said they would gladly accept an apology from Ferrer for a ?momentary lapse in legal judgment.?

If the petition gets junked at the commission en banc level, Remoto said his group would meet with CHR chief Leila De Lima to help them elevate the petition to the Supreme Court.

In a separate interview, Ferrer said Remoto's group ?does not understand? the resolution, which was drafted with the help of the agency's legal department.

?If you resort to matters of morality, there is nothing wrong about quoting the Bible or Koran but this does not mean I am not imposing my religion. They are free to file the MR (motion for reconsideration) and even go to the Supreme Court if they think it's proper,? said Ferrer.



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