MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III should be ‘out’ of office, declared Kapederasyon, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) group, in a street ‘fashion show’ held on Thursday, July 24, at the Bonifacio
The fashion show, dubbed as “Rampaglilitis: Ang Hatol ng LGBT sa Apat na Taon ni Aquino (LGBT’s verdict on Aquino’s first 4 years),” was attended by LGBT rights adocates and activist groups seeking to out the president over the DAP controversy.
LGBT models walked the runway while wearing statements against the Aquino administration. One of them wore a top and skirt festooned with paper money to highlight the lavish lifestyles of those who enriched themselves using public funds with a golden pig’s head as headgear.
“We are supporting any move that will (help) in his ‘coming out’ from office whether (through) impeachment, resignation or ouster,” Edward Peralta, spokesperson of Kapederasyon-Manila City Chapter, said.
On Thursday, July 24, the third valid impeachment complaint against Aquino – this time over a military deal – was filed at the Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives. Militant lawmakers and groups earlier filed two impeachment raps against against Aquino over the controversial spending program known as the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Abandoned by Aquino
Protesters from the LGBT community felt they were abandoned by the Aquino administration since it assumed power 4 years ago.
“We are now breaking our silence as President Aquino remains silent and is doing nothing to improve the lives of our fellow LGBTs nationwide. We are further coming out to call on the Aquino administration’s accountability to the various issues hounding his presidency,” Peralta said.
LGBT activists claimed Aquino has not addressed various forms of hate crimes – verbal, physical, emotional abuse, and discrimination, particularly those that happened under his presidency.
From 1996 to 2012, at least 164 reported cases of murdered LGBTs happened in the Philippines, according to the Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch.
Homosexuality is not illegal in the Philippines, however, there are no strong nationwide laws that specifically promote LGBT rights. Legal same-sex marriage and adoption are not also recognized.
The country’s Anti-Discrimination Bill was first introduced in early 2000s. It included provisions on LGBT rights protection and sanctions against gender-based discrimination. After more than a decade and several versions, the bill is still spending in Congress.
While LGBT rights advocates fight for gender equality, some lawmakers also filed bills proposing to ban same-sex marriage in the Philippines.
Protesters also raised other issues like HIV/AIDS and healthcare, education budget cuts, employment and wages, and rising food prices – issues wich affect the LGBT community, they stressed.
The LGBT activists held their ‘fashion show’ a few days before Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), describing the event as a “dress rehearsal for the bigger protest to be held on Monday, July 28.
“The LGBT community will be marching with the entire Filipino people in calling for truth, transparency, and accountability in the government,” Kapedarasyon said in a statement. – with reports from Fritzie Rodriguez/Rappler.com