Manila Bulletin - Bishop Invokes Freedom Of Expression

   Invoking the right to freedom of expression and the principle of separation of Church and State, Bishop Vicente Navarra asked the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday to stop the implementation of a Commission on Elections (Comelec) order that directed the removal of the “Team Patay/Team Buhay” tarpaulin posted on the wall of the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City.

Through lawyer Ralph Sarmiento, Bishop Navarra said the Comelec order is void and unconstitutional.

The petition pleaded for a temporary restraining order (TRO) or an injunction that would ban the Comelec permanently from enforcing its order.

As printed on the tarpaulin, seven senatorial candidates were tagged as members of the “Team Patay” for having voted for the passage of the Reproductive Health Law which the Catholic Church had vehemently opposed.

The seven senatorial candidates are Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Teddy Casiño and Jack Enrile.

Also dubbed as “Team Patay” are party-list groups Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Akbayan and Anak Pawis.

Six senatorial candidates, on the other hand, were called members of “Team Buhay” for having opposed the Reproductive Health Law.

They are candidates Joseph Victor Ejercito-Estrada, Antonio Trillanes, Gregorio Honasan, Mitos Magsaysay, Koko Pimentel and Cynthia Villar.

Bishop Navarra’s petition is expected to be tackled in next week’s full court session of the SC.