MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday stopped the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from disqualifying the group Ang Ladlad as a contender in the party-list elections.
The tribunal issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping Comelec from delisting the controversial group of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBTs) for the May 2010 elections.
The merits of the case, however, have yet to be tackled by the Supreme Court.
The High Tribunal would have to decide before January 25, the day when the Comelec is scheduled to print the ballots.
Ang Ladlad elevated the case to the SC after the Comelec, citing moral grounds, disqualified the political party last December 2009.
The Comelec en banc stood by the decision of the Second Division, which first disqualified Ang Ladlad in a resolution issued on November 11 last year.
In its petition, Ang Ladlad accused the poll body of violating the Constitutional guarantee against using religion as a benchmark for the exercise of one’s political and civil rights.
This guarantee emanates from the separation of church and state.
Aside from this, Ang Ladlad said the Comelec’s decision was a clear violation of the country’s obligation under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As a party to the covenant, the Philippines should ensure the protection of the rights of all Filipinos, regardless of sexual preference.
Ang Ladlad estimates that around 10% of the 49 million registered voters are LGBTs.
Ang Ladlad wants representation in Congress in order to push for the anti-discrimination bill, which would help promote equal rights for LGBTs in society.