Church told: 'Team Patay' poster to serve as evidence
MANILA - The Commission on Elections will no longer insist on the removal of the Diocese of Bacolod's "Team Buhay, Team Patay" poster so it can serve as evidence in the charges that are being considered by the poll body.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said that for now, the poll body will respect the diocese's decision to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court after the poll body told the diocese to remove the oversized poster.
He said that if the Supreme Court does not issue a restraining order tomorrow, the poll body will proceed with the preliminary investigation of the case that maybe filed for the oversized poster.
"Hindi na kailangan (tanggalin) para andoon ebidensiya,” he said.
Brillantes agreed with the analysis of election lawyer Romulo Macalintal that it maybe premature for the diocese to go up to the SC since the notice was issued at the level of the law department, and not the commission en banc.
He said the procedure for any case is that it will be first investigated by the law department, which will make a recommendation to the commission en banc.
The en banc can use the recommendation as basis to order either the filing of cases in court or the dismissal of the complaint.
"Totoo naman yun. Walang kaso. Ano inaakyat? If the Supreme Court doesn't issue a [temporary restraining order] tomorrow, we will proceed with the process. We will investigate. We will file motu propio charges for preliminary investigation. Hindi pa ho charges sa court. After which, we shall determine," he said.
Brillantes said the law department will be the proper venue for the diocese to raise issues of freedom of expression, religious freedom and separation of church and state.
However, he noted that the issue is simply about the poster being oversized. "Ang sukat tama na sa akin," he said.
He also feels the diocese is getting bad advice from their own lawyer.
"I think it is the lawyer of bishop trying to make something about this, making a big fuss out of this small matter to go up to the Supreme Court. Best evidence something is wrong with the lawyer."
He also said he has received information that the diocese is keeping the poster.
"The lawyer is talking of all kinds of freedom. We are not talking of freedom. Simple sizes lang," he said.