News that Malacanang is considering election lawyer Romulo Macalintal as the next Chair of the Commission on Elections was met with opposition by women’s groups yesterday.
Elizabeth Angsioco, National Chair of Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP), a national federation of almost 300 community women’s groups with around 40,000 individual members said, ‘Atty. Macalintal may be a good election lawyer but his being a religious conservative and his intolerance to views opposing his are dangerous. We need more progressive or at the very least open-minded people in COMELEC.’
‘We must remember that Macalintal, together with Prolife Philippines harassed and shouted at Catholic reproductive health (RH) advocates, virtually calling them Satan outside the Manila Cathedral on 20 November last year. Macalintal’s intolerance, even arrogance, was caught on video. He was also seen trying to grab one of the cameras. Thus, the prospect of having someone like him calling the shots in COMELEC is quite alarming,’ Angsioco added. Together with other advocates, Catholic pro-RH community women, all mothers, went to the Cathedral in response to Prolife’s open invitation to a discernment discussion on the RH bill but were not allowed in, and later, shooed away as Satan by Macalintal’s group.
Angsioco asserted that ‘The Aquino administration should be forewarned that such an attitude will likely surface if he gets appointed as COMELEC Chair. What will a Chair like Macalintal do in the face of pro-RH candidates and party list groups? How will he decide for instance, on issues of representation of gays and lesbians? Or those favoring the re-legalization of divorce? Will his intolerance be reflected in his decisions? The government should not take this risk for surely, this will be met with strong opposition from candidates and pro-RH organizations alike.’
‘We strongly oppose Macalintal for COMELEC Chairship. After all, there is no dearth of qualified candidates for the post. We call on the Liberal Party to review its support for Macalintal and on Pres. Aquino to NOT APPOINT a conservative and intolerant person to hold the highest position in this very important body,’ Angsioco ended.