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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Vote #28 “Ladlad” for Party-List

The Party-List System, also known as Republic Act No. 7941, “is a mechanism of proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives from national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions”.

The Party-List System aims to “promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives”.

Vote Ang Ladlad

One of the numerous groups running for a Party-List slot in the House of Representatives is Ang Ladlad. Ang Ladlad is an organization for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT). The founding chairman of Ang Ladlad is Danton Remoto, a writer, essayist, reporter, editor, columnist, professor, and host of TV 5’s “Remoto Control”.

I first heard of Ang Ladlad through the series of books published by Anvil. I bought Ladlad 3 in 2007 – it’s an anthology of Philippine Gay Writing and was edited by J. Neil C. Garcia and Danton Remoto. Then I heard about Ang Ladlad’s bid as a party-list candidate in the 2007 election but was denied by COMELEC.

In the 2010 elections, it again filed for accreditation but was once again denied by COMELEC. This decision was challenged at the Supreme Court (GR No. 190582, Ang Ladlad LGBT Party v. COMELEC, April 8, 2010).

The Supreme Court granted the petition of Ang Ladlad saying “Ang Ladlad, an organization composed of men and women who identify themselves as lesbians, gays, bisexuals, or trans-gendered individuals (LGBTs), has satisfied the exacting standards that the “marginalized and underrepresented sector must demonstrate (1) past subordination or discrimination suffered by the group; (2) an immutable or distinguishing characteristic, attribute, or experience that define them as a discrete group; and (3) present political and/or economic powerlessness.”

In January 2012, “Ang Ladlad” changed their name to “Ladlad” (dropping the “Ang”). No other than King of Talk and Ladlad Partylist Senior Political Adviser, Mr. Boy Abunda announced it saying “Simula ngayon Ladlad Partylist na ang tawag ninyo sa aming grupo.” (From now on, call our group Ladlad Partylist)

Today, Ladlad Party-List is the only party-list group for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) in the world. The LGBT community is also recognized by the Supreme Court as a legitimate marginalized and underrepresented sector. Thus, there is really a need to represent the LGBT community in Congress.

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe (best known for his role as Harry Potter) is a supporter of gay rights. He’s a member of The Trevor Project, an American non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention among youth and members of the LGBT community.

As a member of the gay community, we’re not asking for special rights for being gay. We just wanted equal rights and protection under the law. We firmly believe in the following phrase found in the US Declaration of Independence of 1776:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

If you’re a voter and a believer of this phrase, then give us voice in Congress in the coming election. You don’t need to be gay or lesbian to vote for Ladlad Party-List. You just need to believe in the concept of equality.

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