Comelec absorbs first-round knockout
By Al S. Mendoza
UNCONSTITUTIONAL. It violates the principle of separation of Church and State.
With that as its anchor in elevating its case to the Supreme Court, the Bacolod diocese won Round 1 in its, well, funny fight with the Comelec.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued a TRO (temporary restraining order) stopping the Comelec from tearing down two Bacolod diocese-owned tarpaulins allegedly infringing on election laws.
If that’s not a first-round knockout against the Comelec, what is?
Weeks back, Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra allowed the mounting of a tarpaulin with the words “Team Patay (Death) and Team Buhay (Life)” on it on the wall of the San Sebastian Cathedral in the city.
“Team Patay” consisted of seven senatorial candidates that supported the RH Bill (which batted for—and won—a government-supported family planning program contrary to Church teachings): Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Sonny Angara, Jack Enrile, Teddy Casino and Risa Hontiveros.
“Team Buhay” listed six senatorial bets who opposed the RH Bill: Gregorio Honasan, JV Ejercito, Mitos Magsaysay, Cynthia Villar, Antonio Trillanes IV and Koko Pimentel.
The Comelec said the tarpaulin was oversized and so, Bishop Navarra, if only to appease Comelec Chairman Sixto Brilliantes, had it cut into two.
But when finally halved, the two tarps still didn’t meet the standard measurements.
The Comelec ignored that, but would next say the tarps were propaganda materials erected in a place not authorized by the Comelec.
Hello? The tarps did not say “Vote for Team Buhay,” or “Don’t Vote for Team Patay.”
Where was campaigning there?
Brillantes had warned Bishop Navarra on Friday (March 1) that if the tarps weren’t “removed in three days, we will file charges for preliminary investigation.”
With the Supreme Court’s TRO released on March 5, Brilliantes absorbed a resounding slap in the face.
Serves him right.
What I can’t understand with the Comelec is, it loves to look for “bawal (not allowed)” in the run-up to the May polls, spending even good money to produce TV ads towards this end.
Instead of that foolish penchant for fault-finding, why doesn’t the Comelec busy itself on its sworn duty: Conduct an honest-to-goodness election on May 13?
Please, Mr. Brilliantes, throw away all the gobbledygook and next endeavor to look for ways and means to pull all the stops in ensuring a rig-free election.
You have at least three months from today to do that.
The Comelec spending so much time with tarps, correct size or not, mounted on private property such as a house of worship is but gravy, a non-essential element in election matters. A waste of time, energy and, yes, money.
Enough of pettiness. Drop futile exercises. End trivialities.
Harass not, and move your ass.
Clean election and not kill erection of non-propaganda paraphernalia, please?