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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 23, 2013
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Church move saddens
pro-RH Law candidates

BY CARLA GOMEZ

Team PNoy senatorial bets placed by the Diocese of Bacolod on its “Team Patay” list of candidates who should not be supported for having voted for the passage of the Reproductive Health Law, yesterday said they were saddened by the move, and are leaving their fate in the May polls to God and the Filipino people.

The Team PNoy bets, who were campaigning in Negros Occidental yesterday, also stressed that nowhere in the RH Law is abortion allowed.

Of the seven candidates for senator on the “Team Patay” list of the Diocese of Bacolod, five are from Team PNoy: Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano and Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel.

Two other senatorial bets -- Teddy Casiño and Jack Enrile, and partylist groups Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Akbayan and Anak Pawis are also on the “Team Patay” list.

“That’s their prerogative, it’s just a little disappointing that they chose to base their campaign on a single issue alone, and not pay attention to what else a candidate has done while in public service,” Angara said.

Legarda said she respects the declaration of the Diocese of Bacolod “but if you read the reproductive health bill which I voted for, it is very clear there is no abortion”.

The bill is designed to help women in their health needs, she said, adding that she would not agree to killing a child in the womb.

NIGHTLY ROSARY

Meanwhile, she said she will continue to perform her role as a Catholic who prays the rosary every night and goes to Church every Sunday.

“I am a practicing Roman Catholic and value my being a Catholic,” she

said, adding that she has a high respect for the church hierarchy and the bishops.

“I will leave the matter to God and the Filipino people,” she said.

Baraquel said she is saddened by the position of the Diocese of Bacolod but “I respect their right to it, even if I don’t agree.”

She supports and will continue to monitor the correct implementation of the RH law in good conscience as an expression of being a Catholic Filipina, she said.

Beyond the sadness, she said she puts her joy and trust in the people who have the capability to discern what is right or not.

She said the church is not just composed of religious leaders but the people, including lay women like her who are passionately Catholic and pro-RH.

NO ABORTION

Team PNoy campaign manager Franklin Drilon said they are saddened by the position of the Diocese, but said “we will continue to try to convince the people that this government deserves their full support.”

Even the strongest critics of the RH bill have conceded that it is balanced and does not promote abortion, in fact, it prohibits abortion at every turn, Drilon said.

Drilon said Senator Vicente Sotto, who steadfastly opposed the RH bill in the Senate, said that with amendments introduced, particularly on abortion, he see no basis for the law to be struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

MANAGEMENT, NOT POPULATION

The six senatorial candidates that the Diocese of Bacolod identified as pro-life, or as members of “Team Buhay” for voting against the RH Law, are Joseph Victor Ejercito-Estrada, Antonio Trillanes, Gregorio Honasan, Mitos Magsaysay, Koko Pimentel and Cynthia Villar.

“These people should have our most wholehearted support,” it said.

Villar said she was very happy for the support of the Diocese of Bacolod. “The Catholic church influence is big,” she said.

Villar said she and her husband, Senator Manuel Villar, voted against the RH bill. It is not the population that is the problem but management, she said.

She also pointed out that China and India have big populations but have progressed.*CPG

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