CHURCH-backed pro-life groups on Saturday endorsed the Binay-Marcos tandem, the senatorial bid of Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and seven other senatorial candidates for being anti-death penalty and anti-abortion.
At the Kapihan sa Annabel’s forum, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said the combined forces of Buhay party-list and Pro-Life Philippines Foundation, numbering some 2.5 million Catholics, rejected the presidential bid of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
The groups appealed to all Catholics and Christians not to vote for Duterte because of his alleged penchant for extrajudicial killings.
They, instead, endorsed the candidacies of opposition United Nationalist Alliance standard bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay for president and Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for vice president. Marcos is running as independent.
Besides Romualdez, endorsed for the Senate were Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo, world boxing champion Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao, reelectionist Senator Vicente Sotto III, former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, Princess Jacel Kiram, former Quezon City Rep. Dante Liban and Diosdado Valeroso.
Atienza also revealed that the influential El Shaddai of Bro. Mike Velarde would back the Binay-Marcos tandem.
Velarde, he said, would make the announcement during the gathering of the El Shaddai flock Saturday night.
But the Servant Communities, led by Albert Gomez Alba, said the SC, composed of charismatic priests, endorsed the vice presidential bid of Binay’s running mate, Senator Gregorio Honasan.
Atienza and Eric Manalang, president of Pro-Life Philippines Foundation, said they had no problem with either Marcos or Honasan.
Manalang said while Marcos’ family was hounded by such controversies as corruption and human rights violation due to Martial Law that was declared by his father and namesake the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the group did not take the issues against Marcos.
“We had a face-to-face interview with Senator Marcos. All vice presidential contenders were subjected to intense review and grilling. We followed his political career and found that he is pro-life. All his legislations are geared at protecting and preserving life,” Manalang said.
Alba said the pro-life groups were targeting the 12.5-million Filipinos who remain undecided, nine days before the elections on May 9.
“No candidate has ever admitted that he is corrupt or a thief. They all deny this. But there is one candidate who admitted that he is a killer and he does not regret it,” said Alba, referring to Duterte.
Atienza said the Catholic members of Buhay would not go for Senator Grace Poe, standard bearer of Partido Galing at Puso, because she was anti-life for being pro-abortion and pro-same sex marriage.
“Poe, if she becomes president, will promote divorce and abortion. That’s going against the teachings of the Catholic Church,” Atienza said. “We cannot have a president that violates the law of the Church, particularly disregarding the sanctity of life and family values.”
He said Poe has adopted an American lifestyle because she was an American before she renounced her foreign citizenship to run for the Senate and she would also push for the use of contraceptives, which the pro-life groups oppose for the pills’ being abortifacient.
Several women’s groups that are advocates of reproductive health law and family planning said several studies show that contraceptives are safe for women.
Atienza said the lone woman vice presidential candidate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, running mate of Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II, shares the same stand as Poe.
“Just like Poe, Roxas and Robredo are also anti-life,” Atienza said.
“Only Binay has a clear-cut position on preserving the sanctity of life, being a human rights lawyer. He values life. Bongbong Marcos is also pro-life,” said Atienza, defending the group’s choice of Binay-Marcos tandem.
“Digong [Duterte] is simply anti-life. He kills. He even boasts of his penchant for killing,” Atienza said, cautioning the electorate against believing in popularity surveys.
“The surveys tend to condition the mind of the public. Their results are simply not accurate,” Atienza said.
Atienza cited the case of Buhay party-list group that the surveys claimed in the 2013 elections would not make it to Congress.
“Came election day, some 1.3 million people voted for us. We were able to obtain three seats in Congress. So these surveys should be banned for trying to influence the outcome of the elections,” Atienza said.
He vowed that if got reelected, the Buhay party-list would pass legislations that would bar the survey outfits from coming out with survey results a month before the elections.