CEBU CITY, Philippines – The controversial “Team Patay” and “Team Buhay” posters – campaigning against pro-reproductive health (RH) law senatorial candidates, and endorsing those who opposed the measure – are now in the Cebu diocese.
The tarpaulins, which were first displayed by the Diocese of Bacolod, have reached the churches in Metro Cebu, the largest diocese in the country.
The diocese was quick to deny, however, that it was responsible for the tarpaulins.
“Only lay people are allowed to produce such tarpaulins. We would like to make it clear that we (Archdiocese) won’t come up with names,” Msgr. Achilles Dakay, archdiocesan media liaison, told reporters on Monday, March 11.
Witnesses said a group of laymen distributed the tarpaulins in several Archdiocesan Shrines in Cebu over the weekend.
Rappler learned that there are two kinds of posters being distributed in Cebu. The first design is similar to those circulating in Bacolod, where the names of pro-RH bets are listed under “Team Patay.”
The second design doesn’t list the candidates and only urge voters to reject pro-RH candidates, “who promoted and voted for the very controversial RH Bill that is unconstitutional, immoral, and promotes a culture of death.”
Posters were found near the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Archdiocesan Shrine of our Lady of Lourdes in Barangay Punta Princesa, and the Archdiocesan Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Cebu posters are smaller than the posters in Bacolod, which the Commission on Elections has ordered the diocese to take down because they didn’t comply with size requirements set by the poll body.
The Bacolod diocese got the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order on the Comelec.
While in Bacolod the controversial posters were mounted on the façade of the San Sebastian Cathedral, the ones in Cebu are placed on standees and are situated outside the church premises.
Lawyer Eddie Aba, Cebu elections supervisor, said they will wait for the instructions from the Comelec main office in Manila if they should take down the controversial posters.
“If [Comelec] Manila will come up with a stand, in the event that they would be declared illegal, we will remove these propaganda materials,” Aba said in a News5 Cebu report.
For the past 7 years, the Archdiocese of Cebu has been considered as the largest archdiocese in the country for having the most baptized Catholics, seminaries, and clergymen.
Aside from Cebu, 5 other dioceses have followed the Diocese of Bacolod in distributing “Team Patay” and “Team Buhay” posters in their respective ecclesiastical jurisdictions.
These include the Archdiocese of Lipa and the dioceses of San Pablo, Laguna; Malolos, Bulacan; San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; and Boac, Marinduque. – Rappler.com