A RABID supporter of the Reproductive Health law crashed out of the Magic 12, but so did other senatorial candidates who strongly opposed the measure.

So was the so-called Catholic vote felt during the May 13 elections?

Half of the winners in the senatorial election were all endorsed by the White Vote Movement (WVM), an umbrella group of Catholic organizations fronted by Bro. Mike Velarde of the El Shaddai Movement.

They were Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Gregorio Honasan, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Cynthia Villar.

But four other candidates —Senators Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano, and Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara—cracked the winners' circle despite being included in the “Team Patay” campaign of some dioceses.

If the Catholic vote was a factor at all, administration candidate Risa Hontiveros, a leading campaigner of the RH measure, appeared to have been the clear casualty.

“Hontiveros did not make it. In fact, [she placed] 13th in 2010 and 17th in 2013,” said Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Family and Life. “Team Buhay is still Number 1.”

But Rom Dongeto, Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development executive director, downplayed the impact of the Catholic vote.

“There is no Catholic vote and no black propaganda of the Church can steal victory from candidates who advocate reproductive health,” he said in a statement.

Like Hontiveros, four candidates who had campaigned against the RH law also lost, namely, Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, John Carlo de los Reyes, Rizalito David and Marwil Llasos of Ang Kapatiran Party.

Breaking the measure

Also missing the cut where former Senators Richard Gordon and Juan Miguel Zubiri, who were likewise endorsed by the WVM.

The campaign for pro-life candidates took a hit when the WVM did not endorse all three candidates of Kapatiran, a Catholic lay initiative with a clear political platform based on social teachings of the Church. The WVM backed Llasos but ignored De los Reyes and David.

Then on May 7 came the report that the WVM had endorsed RH supporters Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV and Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay, Jr.

The group immediately denied the news, saying it was the “personal endorsement” of Velarde, the group’s spokesperson.


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