The Catholic vote-A A +A
Monday, March 4, 2013
I ATTENDED for the first time yesterday a general assembly of Cebu CFI Community Cooperative, one of the biggest cooperatives in Cebu and the Visayas, which was held for this year at the controversial Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) in Mandaue City. My wife became a member of the coop last year, and she asked me to accompany her to the venue. I stayed for a while to observe the proceedings.
I say this would be how the Cebu News Workers Multi-Purpose Cooperative or Cebu Newscoop would look like in the coming years (the coop is currently headed by Sun.Star Cebu’s Elias O. Baquero). But that requires continuous good management and oodles of creativity from its officers. The CFI coop has been at it for more than four decades through the leadership of retired judge Esperanza F. Garcia.
Unfortunately, we left at noon after the mass because my youngest child, who was with us, was not feeling well. I would have wanted to listen to what the guest speaker, Vice President Jejomar Binay, had to say. I looked at the listed honored guests and I saw there senatorial bet Mitos Magsaysay of the United Nationalist Alliance, One Cebu gubernatorial bet Pablo John Garcia and suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia. I also saw in the venue the Garcia patriarch, Second District Rep. Pablo Garcia.
It wasn’t difficult to see where the political wind blew during that gathering. I don’t know if Liberal Party (LP) gubernatorial bet Hilario Davide III and his running mate Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale are members of the coop and if they attended the assembly. I doubt if they would have surfaced even if they are coop members.
In my haste to bring my child home, I forgot to get the name of the priest who officiated the mass. He had a prepared homily and delivered it well, using as punch lines popular slogans of candidates like “Gusto ko happy ka” (Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile), “Daang matuwid” (President Noynoy Aquino), “Buhat maoy pasultihon” (Governor Garcia) and “Padayon jud” (PJ Garcia).
But it was his mention of Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra and his diocese’s “Team Buhay” vs. “Team Patay” tarpaulin campaign that caught my attention. The priest didn’t mention the senatorial bets listed under “Team Buhay” or “Team Patay” but the criticism of those in the latter was evident. What if, I thought, more priests would use the pulpit to remind Catholic voters of the candidates who opposed the church’s campaign against the reproductive health (RH) bill, what will happen?
As I noted earlier, the “Team Buhay” vs. “Team Patay” campaign, if it snowballs, would be par for the course as far as the anti-RH groups are concerned. RH law proponents who are running in the May elections shouldn’t expect to be heaped with praises by those who opposed their move. They can’t have their cake and eat it too. They ridiculed the so-called “Catholic vote,” now they have to parry the blows that will be hurled by Catholic voters.
I sat with fellow columnist Antolin de la Serna as we waited for the start of the mass. I told him that I doubted if the “Team Buhay” vs. “Team Patay” campaign would make the leading senatorial bets like Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda lose in the elections. He agreed with me but pointed out that if the rating of these senatorial bets slides down (they are one and two in various surveys) in the coming days, then the effect of the campaign by some bishops, priests and Catholic faithful against “Team Patay” senatorial bets affected them.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 04, 2013.