Is There A Catholic Vote?

MANILA, Philippines --- The Team Patay-Team Buhay Catholic vote fever has reached Quezon City churches as Catholic fraternal order Knights of Columbus groups in the city launched yesterday their own movement against the seven senatorial candidates who supported the controversial reproductive health law.

In a meeting held in a restaurant located a few meters away from the residence of President Benigno S. Aquino III, nine K of C councils belonging to two Catholic Dioceses in the vote-rich city met with anti-RH legislators and reached a consensus to support the Team Patay-Team Buhay voting advisory.

The Catholic vote campaign was launched in Bacolod City at almost the same time the Team PNoy senatorial slate, Aquino's handpicked candidates, held sorties there.

Team Patay which comprises senatorial bets who backed the RH bill is composed of Senators Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, and Alan Peter Ceyetano; Reps. Jack Enrile, Teddy Casino, and Edgardo Angara and former Rep. Rissa Hontiveros.

Team Buhay whose members are being endorsed by church lay groups include Senator Gregorio Honasan, Antonio Trillanes and Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel; Reps. Mitos Magsaysay and JV Ejercito Estrada, and former Rep. Cynthia Villar.

Leaders of one of the largest Catholic lay organizations invited Senator Vicente Sotto III and Rep. Vincent Crisologo, both staunch oppositors of the RH law, to air their views on the impending release of the implementing rules and regulations of the controversial measure.

"Yes, President PNoy. There is a Catholic vote," declared Grand Knight Roger Dumlao during the meeting held at Shangri-La Restaurant located in Aquino's neighborhood on Times Street.

Dumlao said he expects the 500,000 members of K of C auxiliaries and members of their family to lead the cause for a Catholic vote.

"We value life," stressed Dumlao.

The nine K of C organizations belong to the so-called QC Assembly ACN 1870 that covers Councils 6080 , Project 6; 6085, Project 7, 6183, Project 8, 6632, Bago Bantay; 17725, Pag-asa; 9934, San Nicolas, 9719, San Isidro and 8444, De la Estrada.

Sotto said the Catholic fraternal organization is a big force that senatorial and local candidates must reckon with in QC which has at least two million votes.

"If detractors claim that there is no Catholic vote, I strongly believe that there is a Catholic influence that could spell the difference in the election," he said.

"Kung limang beses kada isang linggo ka ipagdarasal, malaking bagay na iyan para manalo," Sotto said in explaining what Catholic influence meant.

Crisologo said Catholic groups should support candidates that would stop plans of legislators allied with the administration to pursue bills that are against the teachings of the church such as the proposed divorce and same sex marriage measures.

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