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Freeman Region

Supreme Court ruling vindicates Bacolod diocese

Marchel P. Espina - The Freeman

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines  — The Diocese of Bacolod felt vindicated after the Supreme Court upheld, via 9-5 votes, the legality of the Team Patay-Team Buhay tarpaulin, which was posted in the façade of the San Sebastian Cathedral during the 2013 elections.

Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra, in a statement, said: “Ever since the very beginning of the issue, I was convinced the Church was on the winning side because it was only for formation of conscience, ... regarding their moral and correct decision in exercising their right of suffrage as to who are the candidates they have to vote vis-a-vis the then Reproductive Health Bill.”

Father Felix Pasquin, rector of the San Sebastian Cathedral, also said: “We’re extremely happy over the SC decision. We feel vindicated not only over the freedom of expression issue, but (also) over the crucial matter of the campaign for the protection of human life. We thank God above all.”

The diocese posted the tarpaulin that listed the lawmakers who voted in favor of the RH Law as “Team Patay,” and those who voted against it as “Team Buhay.”

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes sought for the removal of the 6-feet by 10-feet tarpaulin, which he called as “election propaganda,” contending that it was oversized and that it was a campaign material in violation of election laws.

However, the diocese refused to follow the poll body, prompting the Comelec’s law department to issue an order for the tarp removal. The diocese elevated the case to the SC, seeking for a temporary restraining order to stop Comelec in implementing its order.  (FREEMAN)

BACOLOD BISHOP VICENTE NAVARRA

COMELEC

COMELEC CHAIRMAN SIXTO BRILLANTES

DIOCESE OF BACOLOD

FATHER FELIX PASQUIN

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL

SAN SEBASTIAN CATHEDRAL

SUPREME COURT

TEAM BUHAY

TEAM PATAY

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