September 11, 2019
Malacanang clarified on Wednesday that President Rodrigo Duterte would not certify as urgent a bill seeking to protect the rights of the LGBT, but the anti-discrimination bill.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the clarification after Duterte, in an interview by reporters Tuesday night in Malacanang, answered "Yes," when asked if he would certify as urgent the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill.
"Actually, what he meant was an anti-discrimination law or bill, not the SOGIE Bill. Not that one," he said in an interview by CNN Philippines.
He explained that on Tuesday night, Duterte was actually citing the anti-discrimination ordinance being implemented in Davao City where he served as its mayor for over two decades.
"He was referring, in fact he said, I have that, we have that in Davao. So he was really specifically referring to that anti-discrimination law in Davao," said Panelo, who is also the chief presidential legal counsel.
On Tuesday night, Duterte cited that it was Davao City who first came out with the anti-discrimination ordinance.
"Gay, disabled. I was first (to have such law)," he said.
Panelo said there could be a problem if only the SOGIE bill would be passed into law.
"You cannot legislate for a particular class only. You're discriminating," he said.
Panelo added that the LGBT community should not be disappointed if Duterte would instead certify as urgent the anti-discrimination bill and not the SOGIE bill since the former covers all forms of discrimination, including those committed against the LGBT community.
"If it's an anti-discrimination bill, which is an enlarged version of whatever bill you have in mind, they (LGBT community) are included there," he explained.
Some groups, including the Christian denominations, have been opposing the SOGIE bill, which according to main proponent minority Senator Risa Hontiveros, aims to prevent and penalize discriminatory acts against a person's sexual orientation. Celerina Monte/DMS
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