August 20, 2019
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Tuesday said he is not sure if President Rodrigo Duterte will certify SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression) Equality bill as urgent after meeting Gretchen Diez, a transgender who was refused entry in a female restroom.
“That I’m not sure if he will certify but I understand that it is strong in the Congress. The inclination to pass it is strong,” Panelo said in a press briefing in Malacanang.
He told reporters he was not with Duterte when Diez visited Malacanang with Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman.
Panelo reiterated that Duterte supports the bill and is inclined in creating a third restroom for the LGBTQ+ community.
“For me, I want that so there will be no problem… everybody (is) comfortable. Or common (restroom) for all just like in the coffee shops,” Panelo said.
“No discrimination, you can come in and out. You just have to wait,” he added.
On the establishment of the Commission on LGBT, Panelo said he will ask the president.
With regards to the janitress who refused Diez entry, Panelo said there is no need for her to be removed from her job.
“She already apologized. Apparently, her stand is she doesn’t know there is an ordinance that’s why she said she is willing to be educated on that. So if she knew it maybe she would not have done it,” he said.
In a Facebook post, Diez thanked Duterte for his support calling his visit in Malacanang a “cardinal event” for the LGBTQ+ community.
“A huge leap on our fight against discrimination. After two decades of waiting. Thank you for your support, Mr. President,” Diez said. Ella Dionisio/DMS
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