Mar 042013
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over its order to the Diocese of Bacolod to remove its controversial “Team Buhay/Team Patay” tarpaulin.

“Wala pa namang kaso, ano inaakyat nila sa Supreme Court?” Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. told reporters during an interview Monday.

“The only thing we’ve sent so far is a letter coming from the Comelec telling them to remove it (tarpaulin) in three days. What will they tell the Supreme Court? May sulat kaming tinanggap dito? Di naman pupwede ‘yun,” he added.

According to reports, the Bacolod diocese filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking it to declare as unconstitutional the Comelec’s orders to remove the tarpaulin.

But Brillantes said for the diocese to go to the high court on the basis of their letter is “the best evidence that there is something wrong with the lawyer.”

“Simpleng-simple lang, sundin lang ninyo ‘yung sukat [ng tarpaulin], tama na sa amin ‘yun. I think it is the lawyer of the bishop who is trying to make something out of this, who is trying to make a big fuss of a small matter,” he said.

He also said unless they are restrained by the Supreme Court, they will proceed with the filing of election offense charges against the people behind the oversized tarpaulin.

“By tomorrow if the Supreme Court does not come out with anything, no TRO (temporary restraining order) or nothing, we will proceed with the process,” he said.

“When we say the process, we will investigate, we will now file motu propio charges for premilinary investigation by the law department,” he added.

The Comelec had given the Bacolod diocese two notices to remove the Team Buhay/Team Patay tarpaulin, which lists the names of senatorial candidates and party-lists groups according to their stand on the Reproductive Health bill that was eventually signed into law.

The poll body clarified that freedom of expression was not the point of contention in the issue but the measurements of propaganda materials as prescribed by the law. — Kimberly Jane Tan/KBK, GMA News

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