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The purple vote

By Elizabeth Angsioco | Mar. 16, 2013 at 12:01am
The May elections is just around the corner, so to speak. Senatorial and party-list candidates are exerting all efforts to win people’s votes, singing and dancing included. Personal attacks have also started. Election fever is indeed peaking.

While candidates try to woo us with their propaganda and antics, the electorate should stay focused. It is easy to get confused and lost in the myriad of issues the country faces, as well as the shows put on by jokers posing as people’s champions. It really is up to us, the people to see through the chaos.

An important issue to keep in mind is the reproductive health issue.

While most of us rejoiced with the passage of the bill into law, this law has yet to see implementation.  As things stand, the Implementing Rules and Regulations have just been signed and according to the rules, it will take effect 15 days after publication.  This means that the law’s actual implementation may commence in April.

In the meantime, about 15 women, particularly poor mothers, continue to die each day due to preventable and curable pregnancy or childbirth complications. It is primarily because of these women that we fiercely fought for more than a decade for the RH law. We need the law to be implemented and implemented properly.

We should remember this.

For the coming elections, the purple vote remains to be for saving mothers’ lives.

Undoubtedly, the RH Law, or R.A. 10354 continues to be under serious attack. Just a few days after it was signed, petitions questioning its constitutionality were filed with the Supreme Court. The issue remains unresolved.

Outside of this, people should also know that unfinished business of the concluded fifteenth Congress included several anti-RH bills. Should the anti-RH bloc become the majority in the coming Congress, these bills will not only be refiled but may be passed. This means that the RH law will become useless.

As early as now, we hear of senatorial candidates saying that the repeal of the law is a major reason for their running for elections.

Only us, voters, have the power to thwart their anti-women, anti-people, anti-poor, anti-rights agenda.

The purple vote protects the RH law and everything it stands for.

As clear as day, the Roman Catholic Church is again moving against the law. This time, by campaigning for its allies. The men in robes are so used to having their way and losing is not part of their vocabulary. They lost in the RH battle and they want to reverse this. The church campaigns for anti-RH candidates because they want the law repealed.

However, in doing so, they again display their arrogance. Damaso’s “Team Patay” gimmick mocks the Commission on Elections’ rules governing election materials. The tarpaulins in question are electoral campaign materials covered by Comelec rules. Those are partisan propaganda materials favoring Catholic allies and discrediting foes.

The Church’s defiance of COMELEC orders is a blatant display of arrogance. Do Catholic leaders consider themselves above the law?

This Church is setting a very bad precedent for candidates who are also accused of violating the same poll body rule. If the Catholic Church can get away with this, how is the Comelec to pursue others? In effect, this Church initiative may render Comelec rules useless.

Should voters condone this behavior of the Catholic Church?

The purple vote is against Damaso and for secularism upheld by our Constitution.

The pro-RH citizenry needs to remain vigilant. We cannot allow Damaso to win again at the expense of our mothers’ lives, our young people’s future and our human rights.

We need to retain the pro-RH majority in both Houses of Congress.

Some of our champions have finished their terms and will no longer be in the 16th Congress. We need our other champions in the House of Representatives to be there. We need new champions to emerge to defeat threats against this very important law.

Pro-RH voters should scrutinize candidates in their areas. Their RH position should be made clear. We need our allies, old and new to win the elections. Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao, Kimi Cojuangco of Pangasinan, Bolet Banal of Quezon City, Sandy Ocampo of Manila, Jerry Trenas of Iloilo City, Joey Zubiri of Bukidnon, and the others are needed in the HOR.

On the other hand, we need to go against anti-RH senatorial candidates including Gringo Honasan, Koko Pimentel, Antonio Trillanes, JV Ejercito, Migz Zubiri, Mitos Magsaysay, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, and those of the Kapatiran Party, a staunch RCC ally.

As far as my group is concerned, the RH test is the primary test we subject candidates to. Those against the law are automatically removed from our options. Bets who try to play safe will not be considered as well. Our other criteria will only be applied to pro-RH candidates. There is no compromise here.

For the coming elections, let us protect our gains as pro-RH voters.

Save mothers’ lives. Give our young people a shot at a better future. Uphold the rule of law, secularism and the Constitution.

Show the Roman Catholic Church it won’t have our votes. Defeat Damaso again.

I am a purple voter. Are you?

bethangsioco@gmail.com  and @bethangsioco on Twitter
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