Bets seek endorsement of Catholic-backed White Vote Movement
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CALASIAO, Pangasinan - Several senatorial candidates who have taken an anti-Reproductive Health (RH) law stance are also seeking the endorsement of the Catholic-backed White Vote Movement.

Former Senator Ernesto Maceda, Nancy Binay and former Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Margarita "Tingting" Cojuangco said the vote of Catholic groups could deliver significant results in the May elections.

All three are running under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

"I have talked to Brother Mike Velarde and I'm hoping he would endorse me because I am anti-RH," Maceda said.

He said he hopes that he and other UNA candidates will make it to the next batch that the movement will endorse, adding that "any endorsement of a big group is significant."

Asked how Velarde responded to his request, Maceda said El Shaddai leader, appeared "sympathetic."

Maceda said he was against the RH law because he did not think that it will work in curbing the population growth.

Cojuangco said she was opposed to the RH measure from the start.

"As you know, I have five children, if I was pro-RH, then I would only have two kids," she said.

She added that the law was a duplication of the Magna Carta for Women. 

She said she recognized the importance of the support of Catholic groups and other religious denomination.

Binay said she hopes she could also get the endorsement of the Catholic groups to secure her a seat in the Senate.

Last week, the White Vote Movement for Life and Family launched by 42 Catholic lay organizations led by El Shaddai endorsed the candidacy of three UNA candidates - Mitos Magsaysay, Joseph Victor Estrada and Gregorio Honasan - and three candidates from the administration's Team PNoy - Aquilino Pimentel III, Cynthia Villar and Antonio Trillanes.

All incumbent lawmakers from either the Senate or the House of Representatives, except for Villar, the six took a firm stance against the RH law.

Magsaysay said the Catholic vote, if there is one, could be tested with this endorsement.

"If I win, then yoy can say there is a Catholic vote," she said, adding that she was the only one from the six candidates endorsed who was not in the top 12 based on the surveys.

"How can you beat the laity, every local government unit has a laity," she said.

Before the endorsement of the White Vote Movement, civil society groups organized the Purple Vote movement to back the candidacy of those who supported the RH law.

"If the pro-RH did not malign the anti-RH groups, there would not have been this movement. ... It's just like they woke up a sleeping giant, it became the catalyst for the Catholic groups," Magsaysay added.