Comelec denies with finality Ang Ladlad's petition to join next year's party-list polls

December 17, 2009 11:00 pm 

MANILA, Dec. 17 — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has denied with finality the petition of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) group called "Ang Ladlad," seeking to participate in the party-list elections next year.

It was the decision of Comelec Chairman Jose Melo that broke the tie and eventually denied with finality the motion for reconsideration filed by the "Ang Ladlad" group.

In his separate opinion, Melo sided with the members of the Comelec's 2nd Division composed of its head, Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer and member-Commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph.

The poll body chief explained that there is no substantial differentiation of the group.

“Thus, even if society’s understanding, tolerance, and acceptance of LGBT is legitimate, there can be no denying that Ladlad constituencies are still males and females, and they will remain either male or female — protected by the same Bill of Rights that applies to all citizens alike and who are amply represented also by the males and females who comprise our legislature,” part of the five-page opinion said.

On the other hand, the First Division, headed by Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and member-Commissioners Armando Velasco and Gregorio Larrazabal, voted to grant the petition, thus reconsidering and setting aside the decision of the 2nd Division.

Velasco, the ponente of the First Division's December 16 decision, said that he found no reason to deny the group’s petition.

“The very purpose for Ang Ladlad’s existence and for declaring its intent to participate in the Party-List System of Representation is to work for equal rights and non-discrimination. This is consistent with the rationale behind Republic Act No. 7941: to put those belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented on equal footing with those who, since time immemorial, have held political power. Verily, I find no reason to deny Ang Ladlad petitions,” Velasco said in his five-page separate concurring opinion.

Tagle, for his part dissented, as he claimed that “the LGBT community is neither marginalized nor discriminated by society.”

It would be recalled that the 2nd Division, in its November 11 resolution, denied the petition of Ang Ladlad seeking to join the party-list elections in May, next year.

In its resolution, the division said that the group “is advocating immoral doctrines but it was also untruthful to its statement that they did not violate or failed to comply with the laws, rules or regulations relating to the elections.” (PNA) scs/FGP/utb

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