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Comelec junks ‘Ladlad’ appeal to join 2010 polls

Posted on: December 18, 2009

Comelec junks ‘Ladlad’ appeal to join 2010 polls

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 19:32:00 12/17/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippnes—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc on Thursday denied the motion for reconsideration of gay partylist Ang Ladlad to join the 2010 election. Comelec is upholding the earlier ruling of the commission’s second division.

With a 3-3 vote between members of the first and second division en banc, Chairman Jose Melo broke the tie and voted to dismiss the petition for the registration of Ang Ladlad that represents the LGBTs or community of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.

Three members of the first division composed of Commissioners Rene Sarmiento, Gregorio Larrazabal and Armando Velasco voted in favor of Ang Ladlad while second division Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle and Ellias Yusoph issued dissenting votes maintaining concurrence with their earlier resolution junking the registration of Ang Ladlad party.

On November 11, Ang Ladlad representative and former Ateneo de Manila University professor Danton Remoto filed an appeal to the Commission en banc seeking to reverse the ruling of second division that junked their petition for accreditation due to the supposed immorality of the group that “offends religious beliefs” and for failure to prove the existence of their chapters nationwide as claimed during the hearing for accreditation.

Melo’s separate opinion, voting to deny the accreditation of Ang Ladlad, cited that there is no “substantial differentiation” of LGBTs as a special class of individuals since under the Billd of Rights that applies to all citizens, LGBTs would remain male or female.

“The opportunities are open to every Filipino—Ladlad members included—to aspire for public office,” said Melo, citing that party representative Danton Remoto filed his senatorial bid as proof.

“Above morality and social norms, they have become part of the law of the land. Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code imposes penalty of prison mayor upon ‘those who shall publicly expound or proclaim doctrines openly contrary to public morals’ and penalizes ‘immoral doctrines, obscene publications and indecent shows,’” wrote Melo in his separate opinion.

“Ang Ladlad falls under these legal provisions as seen in their petition that states: Consensual partnerships or relationships by gays and lesbians who are already of age… Moreover, Article 694 of the Civil Code defines nuisance as “any act, ommission or anything else which shocks defies or disregards decency and morality,’” wrote Melo.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the 4-3 decision was reached “following mandated processes of Comelec procedure” and is thus, “satisfying.”

“The tie-breaking vote of Chairman Melo mentioned that putting religious color only confuses the issue because it is not about separation of church and state. The mention of religion was is because this is the root or source of Filipino moral standards, one source of community standard is religion and the history of Christian and Muslim traditions in the country, it is inescapable that that does not impact how we view things,” said Jimenez.

If Ang Ladlad files an appeal on the ruling before the Supreme Court, “the only ground they could cite was grave abuse of discretion which they have to prove because the decision was reached following procedures,” said Jimenez.

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