Bacolod bishop takes fight with Comelec to SC
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines—Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra asked the Supreme Court on Friday to stop the Commission on Elections from ordering the prelate to remove a “Team Patay/Team Buhay” tarpaulin listing the candidates its support and those it repudiates from the front of the San Sebastian Cathedral.
“On behalf of bishop and the Diocese of Bacolod, I have just filed with the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari and prohibition with application for injunction and TRO vs. the Comelec,” Navarra’s lawyer Ralph Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento said the petition was received by the Supreme Court at 8:26 a.m. Friday and docketed as SC-G.R. No. 205728.
The petitioners, the Diocese of Bacolod represented by Navarra and Navarra himself in his personal capacity, assailed a Comelec order directing Navarra to remove the Team Patay/Team Buhay tarpaulin posted on the wall of Bacolod San Sebastian Cathedral.
Invoking the right to freedom of expression and the principle of separation of Church and State, the petitioners maintain that these orders were unconstitutional and void, Sarmiento said.
The petitioners also asked to permanently restrain the Comelec and its officials from enforcing the questioned orders, he said.
Seven senatorial candidates were tagged by the diocese as members of “Team Patay” for having voted for the approval of the Reproductive Health Law that the church opposed. These were Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Teddy Casiño and Jack Enrile.
The party-list groups Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Akbayan and Anak Pawis were also on the “Team Patay” list.
Six senatorial candidates, Joseph Victor Ejercito-Estrada, Antonio Trillanes, Gregorio Honasan, Mitos Magsaysay, Koko Pimentel and Cynthia Villar, were on the Team Buhay list for having opposed the RH Law.