Bacolod church risks raps over 'Team Patay' poster

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2013 02:19 PM | Updated as of Mar 01 2013 07:10 AM

MANILA - The Commission on Elections has sent notice to Bacolod City Bishop Vicente Navarra to remove the oversized “Team Patay vs Team Buhay” poster in a Bacolod City church or risk being held liable for an election offense.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the poster is beyond the allowed 2x3 size limit for campaign posters.

Brillantes previously said that posters on private properties, including the church, are allowed so long as these are within the prescribed sizes and with the consent of the property owner.

The Comelec chairman said the local church in Bacolod wrote the poll body after they were asked by the local election officer to remove the oversized poster. The poster was cut in half, but the remaining posters were still beyond the size limit.

“Sumulat sila kasi pinatatanggal ng election officer kasi oversized. Pinutol nila, oversized pa rin,” he said.

Brillantes said church wants Comelec to clarify first why it considers the poster as election propaganda and not an advocacy poster of the church. He said the letter from the church said they will only remove the poster after the Comelec clarification.

“Di nila tinatanggal. Sumulat na kami kahapon. Sinabi namin tanggalin niyo iyan. If everybody will say di muna tatanggalin iyan, di wala na kami mahuhuli. When we say take it out, that’s our finding, na illegal,” he said.

He added: “If you’re endorsing a product at andun kandidato, that’s propaganda. Nandiyan kandidato, Team Patay Team Buhay. It is an endorsement of candidates. Definitely campaign propaganda. Walang privileges just because you belong to the church. Yun pinagdedebatehan naming, sino ba may-ari ng simbahan. Kung ako sa kanila, tanggalin nila palitan nila ng within size.”

The Comelec chief said they are now mulling charges against the church. “Yun pinag-aaralan namin. Pinadalhan na namin sinulat.”

The Bacolod diocese earlier put up large tarpaulins that branded as “Team Patay” senatorial candidates who supported the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill. It also put up tarpaulins for Team Buhay senatorial candidates that rejected the bill.

Under “Team Patay” are Sen. Francis Escudero, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, former Akbayan party-list representative Risa Hontiveros, Sen. Loren Legarda, Cong. Jackie Enrile, Cong. Teddy Casiño and Cong. Edgardo Juan Angara.

Under “Team Buhay” are Cong. Joseph Victor Ejercito-Estrada, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, Cong. Mitos Magsaysay and former congresswoman Cynthia Villar.