Did the Catholic vote work in 2013 polls?

by Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 15 2013 10:26 PM | Updated as of May 16 2013 06:58 AM

MANILA - The likely results of the 2013 senatorial elections will again prove there is no such thing as a Catholic vote in the Philippines.

Seven of the 12 senatorial candidates endorsed by the White Vote Movement are headed for victory, but 5 candidates are not likely to win seats. (See list below)

The White Vote Movement is a coalition of 33 Catholic groups led by the El Shaddai movement of Bro. Mike Velarde.

White Vote candidates

JV Ejercito          WINNING
Gringo Honasan       WINNING
Cynthia Villar       WINNING
Koko Pimentel        WINNING
Antonio Trillanes    WINNING
Nancy Binay          WINNING
Bam Aquino           WINNING

Mitos Magsaysay      LOSING
Jun Magsaysay        LOSING
Richard Gordon       LOSING
Migz Zubiri          LOSING
Marwil Llasos        LOSING

Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz told ABS-CBNnews.com that there was really no directive from the Catholic church in the Philippines for a Catholic vote.

“The people were left still free to vote whom they wanted," he said.


The most controversial battlecry related to the RH law and Catholic vote in the mid-term elections was the “Team Buhay-Team Patay” list of the diocese in Bacolod, Negros Occidental.

The diocese's oversized tarpaulin prompted Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes to order that it be removed for violating the regulation on campaign posters, but the group that put it up got a restraining order from the Supreme Court. 

Just as with the White Vote's list, the likely result of the senatorial elections would show there is no such thing as a Catholic vote.

Five out of six on Team Buhay are likely to get elected. Estrada, Honasan, Pimentel, Trillanes and Villar are winning, but Magsaysay is losing.

Team Buhay (anti-RH)

JV Estrada            WINNING
Gregorio Honasan      WINNING
Koko Pimentel         WINNING
Antonio Trillanes     WINNING
Cynthia Villar        WINNING

Mitos Magsaysay       LOSING

Team Patay (pro-RH)

Sonny Angara          WINNING
Alan Peter Cayetano   WINNING
Francis Escudero      WINNING
Loren Legarda         WINNING

Jacki Enrile          LOSING
Teddy Casino          LOSING
Risa Hontiveros       LOSING

But the so-called negative endorsement--known as Team Patay--did not work.

Four of the 7 on Team Patay are doing well, namely: Angara, Cayetano, Escudero and Legarda.

Three on the Team Patay list are losing--Enrile, Casino, Hontiveros.

Ateneo School of Government Dean Antonio La Viña  told ABS-CBNnews.com: “Clearly, there was no Catholic vote in positive terms, meaning most of those endorsed by the White Vote, the group of Catholic organizations, did not win.”

He said a post-election survey may be able to validate “whether or not the votes of some candidates that were blacklisted (as supposedly anti-Catholic because they supported the RH bill among others) were affected.”

What is clear, he said, is there was no so-called Catholic Vote for Team Buhay.

On the other hand, “whether a ‘Team Patay’ designation affected candidates negatively is in question.”


Meantime, Catholic leaders blamed other factors for the poor choices of voters.

In an interview with Radio Veritas, Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said it’s still about the money. “It's money politics, voters are still lacking in political maturity; popularity, name recall, personal interests, and benefits decided the votes.”

Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco and Basilan Bishop Martin Jumaod agreed. They said vote-buying was seen across the country.

Jumaod said there is a “values crisis” that the church needs to confront. Future actions include massive voter education, he said.

Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, on the other hand, blamed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for some failures.

He noted, for example, that names of deceased and  centenarians are still on the voters’ list.

Urdaneta Pangasinan Bishop Mario Peralta lamented: “Talagang laganap ang vote buying, practically all the towns. This is a sad development. The way I look at it, it has become worse.”