Joker comes to defense of Ang Ladlad

Joker comes to defense of Ang Ladlad
By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star)
Updated November 15, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Joker Arroyo came to the defense of Ang Ladlad, a gay organization whose petition for party-list status was junked by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on grounds of “immorality.”

Arroyo joined several organizations, including militant groups, in asking the Comelec to reconsider its decision.

“The Comelec’s 2nd Division acted out of bounds when it denied accreditation to Ang Ladlad’s bid to participate in the party-list elections on grounds of ‘immorality’ and for ‘being inimical to the interest of the youth,’” Arroyo said.

“The resolution reveals a deeply-entrenched prejudice against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders (LGBTs), the constituency of Ang Ladlad. So what if they are LGBTs? Precisely because of that, as a group which has been oppressed and marginalized in all spheres of their lives, they should be allowed to exercise their basic right to representation in the House of Representatives to protect and advance their interest, the very objective of party-list representation,” Arroyo added.

According to Arroyo, the Comelec’s mandate is to ensure clean and honest elections, not to vent their ire and prejudice against gays.

“All groups stand on equal footing to have party-list representation under the Constitution. The Comelec cannot, as their 2nd Division has done, discriminate against and whiplash gays, while they give party-list accreditation to cock fighters, etc.,” Arroyo said.

“The decision violates their human rights, is utterly bereft of legal basis, grounded as it was on blighted notions of moral standards, even as it invoked the Bible and the Koran,” the senator stressed.

The Second Division, composed of Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph, refused to accredit the organization as a party-list group because their sexuality “tolerates immorality.”

Meantime, Migrante is poised to file a petition for temporary restraining order (TRO) before the Supreme Court next week if the Comelec fails to immediately resolve its motion for reconsideration of a resolution denying them a slot in the 2010 party-list polls.

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