Philippines: Comelec Denies Accreditation to Ang LADLAD LGBT Party

Ang LADLAD to file appeal in Supreme Court

On Wednesday, December 16, 2009, the Commission on Election (Comelec) ended the hope of Ang LADLAD to participate in the 2010 National election to run as a partylist when Jose Melo, chairman of the Comelec decided in favor of the initial ruling of the 2nd division of the Comelec in denying accreditation to Ang LADLAD "on moral grounds."

On November 11, 2009 the Comelec rejected the application of Ang LADLAD citing that the group advocates "immorality" and that homosexuals are a "threat to the youth."

A week after the Comelec decision was made public, a protest rally called "immoRALLY" was held in front of the Comelec office in support to the Motion for Reconsideration (MR) that was filed by Ang LADLAD to the Comelec to contest and overturn the initial decision and to denounce the reasons cited by the Comelec Commissioners.

More than a hundred LGBT supporters rallied in front of the Commission on Elections. Photo by Laurindo Garcia.

LGBT advocates are worried and angered by this decision and to the fact that the Comelec associated immorality with homosexuality. In an interview during the rally, an Ang LADLAD representative lamented,

"The larger implication of the decision is doubly disturbing. If it stays, it can be used as a basis to disqualify any individual lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender candidate or other party-list group that advocates LGBT rights. It sets restriction to public participation."

Danton Remoto, chairperson of Ang LADLAD was surprised with the decision since the MR submitted by Ang LADLAD clearly debunked all the wrong allegations and misinformation in the decision.

"The Comelec decision was for 4 votes against and 3 votes for Ang LADLAD," he said. "The Comelec decision is a form of state-discrimination against LGBTs. The state has no right to oppress and discriminate against its citizens as enshrined in the Constitution."

Akbayan Rep. Riza Hontiveros, author of the anti-discrimination bill in Congress was dismayed by the Comelec's decision. "The Comelec is mangling the Constitution and it must be stopped. Elections are about basic fairness, and no one, whether in exercising one's right to vote or in vying for elective posts, should be excluded simply because of one's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Since the decision of the Comelec is final, Ang LADLAD will be filing an appeal to the Supreme Court to reverse the resolution of the Comelec against Ang LADLAD, "We hope the Supreme Court will not use religious morality as the issue against Ang LADLAD," Remoto added.

Ang LADLAD's plan to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court is also supported by Rep. Hontiveros, "The Comelec's decision should be elevated to the High Court and Comelec's errors must be promptly corrected."