Church expects favorable ruling over ‘Team Patay’ issue-A A +A
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
THE Diocese of Bacolod expects the Supreme Court’s (SC) nod on the controversial "Team Buhay, Team Patay" tarpaulin posted at the facade of the San Sebastian Cathedral.
The Church, through its lawyers Ralph Sarmiento and Rey Pandan, presented the oral arguments stating that the tarp is just a mere expression of the church in its advocacy against the Reproductive Health (RH) law and they invoked the separation of the Church and the State on the issue.
Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra, with other priests under the Diocese of Bacolod, personally attended the presentation of the oral arguments at the SC on Tuesday.
Navarra said that in the 10 days period within which the Church will submit the written arguments, they expect the SC to resolve the matter.
He said they just presented what is meant by the Church in its advocacy promoting life and birth, as well as marriage and family.
"I'm very happy and I thank all the faithful for supporting the church advocacy. I appeal to all of you that let's continue praying for our desire to promote life," Navarra said in a phone interview after the SC hearing.
Sarmiento said the oral arguments lasted for about four hours, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) was represented by Francis Jardeleza of the Office of the Solicitor General.
The Church raised the issue to the SC after the Comelec ordered the removal of the controversial tarpaulin, citing violations of its guidelines on postering in line with the May 13 elections.
The Church placed two set of tarpaulins in the front wall of the Bacolod Cathedral last February 21. Each tarp measures 6x10 feet and bears the message “Conscience Vote (Team Buhay/Team Patay (Team Patay tarpaulin).”
The Team Patay tarpaulin contained the names of both anti- and pro-RH law senatorial candidates.
In their special civil action for certiorari and prohibition, the petitioners sought the nullification of the February 22 order issued by respondent, lawyer Mavil Majarucon, Comelec Bacolod officer that orders them to remove the supposed oversized Team Patay tarpaulin.
The petitioners also sought to nullify the February 27 Comelec order directing the immediate removal of the Team Patay tarpaulin and threatening the bishop of Bacolod with the filing of an election offense if he fails to cause its immediate removal.
On March 5, however, the SC en banc issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the respondents Comelec and Majarucon.
Sarmiento said the Comelec orders to remove or cause the removal of the subject Team Patay Tarpaulin are unconstitutional and void for infringing on petitioners' right to freedom of expression on their own private property.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 20, 2013.