MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/17 June) — The winners of this year’s elections will assume office in the next few days. But hardline Catholics have not gotten over the issue of whether there was such a thing as a Catholic vote in the latest political exercise. At least one of them asserted in his column that the Church’s stand on the controversial Reproductive Health Law significantly determined the outcome of the polls.
His “proof”: Six senatorial candidates who were against the RH Law won; Risa Hontiveros, a pro-RH candidate, lost despite the effort poured into her campaign; and 86% of House members who voted against the law won. He rhetorically asked if these would not make for a Catholic vote.
Maybe, but our esteemed columnist chose to not ask if the RH Law was an issue during the campaign. To say that the candidates won or lost on the basis of their stand on this law is putting the cart before the horse. Except when pressed for their position, I never knew of particular candidates who cared to include it in their agenda, that is, if they had any serious agenda at all. Not the pro-RH, not the anti-RH.
More to the point, if there was indeed a Catholic vote, Senators Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano and Chiz Escudero would not have occupied the top spots along with first placer Grace Poe-Llamanzares, another pro-RH candidate. Strange that the columnist did not mention this fact. A possible explanation is that it’s a big slap on the Church’s “Team Buhay, Team Patay” effort, a repudiation of its purported political influence on the faithful.
He then went on to list the names of anti-RH representatives who won. Let’s name some and see if it would make sense to say that they won on the basis of their stand on the law. Note that most, if not all, of them belong to entrenched political families or dynasties.
One of them is Imelda Marcos of Ilocos Norte. She would have won regardless of her stand, that’s a no-brainer. She could even pick a quarrel with the Pope – or convert to Islam or Buddhism – and still win.
He also mentioned Lani Mercado-Revilla of Cavite and Lucy Torres-Gomez of Leyte. Their celebrity status alone is enough to assure them of victory. And they’re not short of cash too.
Many Pacquiao of Sarangani and Thelma Almario of Davao Oriental were also on the list. However, our columnist did not mention or did not know that both ran unopposed.
Tina Plaza of Agusan del Sur? The only way to beat the Plazas is to outspend them. In Agusan del Sur, like in the rest of the country, a candidate’s position on vital issues hardly makes a dent on his or her chances at the polls.
Our columnist concludes his thesis with the fact that Buhay of the Catholic group El Shaddai topped the party-list election. I would attribute Buhay’s victory to the vote of its members. Some of them could be pro-RH but voted for Buhay simply out of loyalty to Mr. Mike Velarde.
Again, I find it strange that our columnist omitted the fact that pro-RH party-list groups also made it to the House – Bayan Muna, Akbayan, Gabriela, Anakbayan, Act Teacher and Anakpawis.
Maybe a Catholic vote does exist in this county, but how significant it is remains debatable. And to argue for it by being selective in presenting facts, like our columnist just did, only gives the impression that the results of the May 13, 2013 elections have given the bishops goose bumps. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at [email protected])