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Philippines: Supreme Court Stops Commission on Elections by Issuing TRO in Favor of LGBT Party

(Jan. 29, 2010) On January 12, 2010, the Supreme Court of the Philippines issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from barring Ang Ladlad – a political group representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people in the Philippines – from appearing on the ballot for the May 2010 elections. (I.P. Pedrasa, SC Orders Homosexual Group's Inclusion in Ballot, BUSINESSWORLD BETA, ONLINE, Jan. 12 2010, available at http://www.bworld.com.ph/main/content.php?id=4469.)

Ang Ladlad brought its case to the Supreme Court after the COMELEC, in November 2009, cited moral grounds in order to justify its disqualification from the election. The petition stated that COMELEC violated constitutional guarantees, which preclude the use of religion in order to wield political or civil rights. (Id.)

The petition also mentions that the Philippines is a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which contains provisions against sexual discrimination. (For the text of the covenant, see International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Dec. 16, 1966, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights website, available at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm.)

The Supreme Court issued the TRO via a press conference, in order to stop COMELEC from omitting Ang Ladlad from the ballot, since COMELEC's deadline to start printing the ballots was January 25, 2010. (Pedrasa, supra.)