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Sotto: Poe's leap to top proves Catholic vote is real

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Grace Poe's strong hold of the top spot in the senatorial elections is proof that the so-called Catholic vote is real, Sen. Vicente Sotto III said Friday as he debunked the reproductive health (RH) advocates' claim of victory in the elections.

"They're lying again when the PLCPD (Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development) said there is no Catholic vote," said Sotto, who is one of the most vocal critics of the RH measure in Congress.

Sotto said that the drop of pre-election survey topnotchers senators-elect Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero and Alan Cayetano is a strong evidence that there is a Catholic vote.

The three lawmakers voted in favor of the RH measure.

The senator said the Catholic vote also worked for senatorial candidates who are against the measure including Koko Pimentel, Gringo Honasan, Cynthia Villar, Antonio Trillanes and JV Ejercito.

The five candidates are all within the winning circle based on unofficial and partial canvassing results.

PLCPD executive director Rom Dongeto said "there is no Catholic vote" because the Catholic church's campaiagn against pro-RH candidates failed.

“The victory of the pro-RH candidates in the recently concluded elections is an affirmation that leaders of the Roman Catholic Church cannot dictate the results of the elections,” Dongeto said.

“There is no Catholic vote and no black propaganda of the church can steal victory from candidates who advocate reproductive health,” he added.

PLCPD said data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) partial tally showed 94 percent of more than a hundred pro-RH reelectionists are seen winning in their respective districts and party-list system.

“Six of the seven senatorial candidates endorsed by the Purple Vote, a movement launched by pro-RH groups, are not just winning but are actually front runners in the senatorial race: Grace Poe, Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Sonny Angara and Bam Aquino,” Dongeto said.

The lawmakers who voted in favor of the RH law included Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, Dinagat Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Batanes Rep. Dina Abad, Bolet Banal (3rd District, Quezon City), Kimmy Cojuangco (5th District, Pangasinan), Jaye Lacson-Noel (Lone District, Malabon City), Sandy Ocampo (6th District, Manila), Susan Yap (2nd District, Tarlac), and Imelda Dimaporo (1st District, Lanao del Norte).

ALAN PETER CAYETANO

ANTONIO TRILLANES

BATANES REP

BOLET BANAL

CATHOLIC

CHIZ ESCUDERO

CYNTHIA VILLAR

DINA ABAD

GRACE POE

LOREN LEGARDA

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