Some SC justices lean on taking down 'Team Patay' poster-A A +A
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and other Supreme Court justices are somewhat inclined to uphold the order of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to remove the "Team Buhay, Team Patay" poster hanging outside the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City.
“In a world where regulation is required to have order, even Jesus would want His disciples to follow regulation,” Sereno said during the oral arguments for or against the Comelec orders on Tuesday.
The poll body earlier said that the tarpaulin is part of election propaganda and its sized went beyond the allowable 2X3 feet.
Ralph Sarmiento, counsel for the diocese, told the Court the Church never resorted to election propaganda since the bishop of Bacolod is not running in the May 13 midterm polls.
"The law does not say violation of this act by candidates and political parties, this law is not limited to candidates. It applies to the public," said Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who will pen the Court's decision, said the Church was apparently unchristian when it made a "caricature" of seven senatorial candidates who favored the implementation of the Reproductive Health law.
Under “Team Patay” or those candidates who should not get public support for defending the RH law are Sonny Angara, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Risa Hontiveros, Teddy Casiño and Jack Enrile.
Party-list groups Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Akbayan, and Anak Pawis are also on the same list while those classified under "Team Buhay" are senatorial candidates JV Ejercito, Antonio Trillanes IV, Gregorio Honasan II, Mitos Magsaysay, Aquilino Pimentel III, and Cynthia Villar for opposing the RH Law.
Speaking for the government, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said the diocese should have exhausted administrative remedies before raising the matter to the SC.
He said the assailed Comelec orders dated February 22 and 27 did not violate the constitutional principle of separation of church and state since what was ought to be regulated are not "religious acts."
Jardeleza agreed the poster is covered by constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression but it still has to pass scrutiny by the Comelec since it carries a political message.
Parties are given until April 1 to submit their other arguments through a memorandum. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)