‘Remove RH posters in church’
Danny B. Dangcalan (The Philippine Star) - March 1, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Catholic Church will be charged with an election offense if Team Patay/Team Buhay tarpaulins are not removed from the façade of the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City.

“If the materials are not removed, we will charge the Church,” Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes said yesterday.

Speaking to reporters in Bacolod City, Bishop Vicente Navarra said yesterday the Catholic Church did not violate Comelec rules as the Team Buhay/Team Patay tarpaulins are not meant to be campaign materials.

However, Brillantes said printed materials promoting or campaigning against particular candidates are considered as propaganda materials.

“If you are endorsing a product and the face of the candidate is there, that is propaganda under the definition of the Supreme Court,” he said.

“Product endorsement has nothing to do with the elections and yet are considered propaganda. Here, there are candidates: Team Patay. Team Buhay. That is an endorsement of candidates.”

Navarra said the tarpaulin will remain hanging from the cathedral’s façade until election day on May 13.

Ralph Sarmiento, one of the three lawyers for Navarra, said the Comelec order to remove the tarpaulins is unconstitutional.

“The Comelec order and notices are violations of the right of the Diocese to freedom of religion, violation of the principles of the Church and the State, and violation of the right of the Diocese to freedom of expression,” he said.

“The posting of tarpaulins on Team Buhay and Team Patay is not only a matter of expression of the Church’s stand on certain matters, but it is necessarily connected to the Catholic teachings and dogma.”

Sarmiento said the tarpaulins in the cathedral’s private property is within the constitutional right of the Catholic Church to freedom of expression.

It is covered by a broader constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression and conscience, he added.

Sarmiento said the Diocese of Bacolod City had only received a faxed copy of the Comelec order. They cannot take it as an official letter from the Comelec, he added.

The Diocese of Bacolod City has asked the Comelec to render a ruling before they would take down the tarpaulins. – WIth EvelynMacairan, Marvin Sy

 

 

BACOLOD CITY BISHOP VICENTE NAVARRA CATHOLIC CHURCH CHAIRMAN SIXTO BRILLANTES COMELEC DIOCESE OF BACOLOD CITY TEAM TEAM BUHAY TEAM PATAY
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