Ready for first gay senator? Binay thinks so

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Vice President Jejomar Binay says UNA is considering Danton Remoto to be part of its Senate slate

FIRST GAY SENATOR? Vice President Jejomar Binay says homosexuality is not an issue in considering gay rights activist Danton Remoto to be part of UNA's senatorial slate. File photo from Ladlad's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Homosexuality? It’s not an issue.

Vice President Jejomar Binay said his United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) is considering including in its 2013 senatorial slate Ladlad chairman emeritus and professor Danton Remoto.

In an interview on Tuesday, July 31, Binay told reporters UNA received a request to include Remoto in its Senate lineup.

Binay was asked if the Philippines is ready for its first openly gay senator.

“Modern times na tayo ngayon. Hindi na issue ang ganyan. Kita mo kahit nga sa PMA (Philippine Military Academy), mayroon nang nagladlad. Sa PNP (Philippine National Police), mayroon na rin. Hindi na bago ngayon iyan.”

(We live in modern times. That is no longer an issue. Look at the PMA and the PNP, people are already coming out. That’s not new anymore.)

Remoto has announced that he is running for the Senate. In 2010, he wanted to run for senator but the Commission on Elections disqualified him.  

In past interviews, he said he was open to joining any party except the ruling Liberal Party (LP). 

The professor and author said that in 2009, LP President Mar Roxas initially offered him and Susan “Toots” Ople a slot in the LP slate but when Roxas slid down to be a vice presidential bet, the then senator no longer talked to them. 

For Binay, though, UNA will first have to see what Remoto can offer.

“We don’t need to see if he comes from Ladlad. What we will look at is first, does he have time to work. Second, does he have the ability to be a senator,” Binay said in Filipino.

Aside from advocating for gay rights and teaching, Remoto also writes columns for news organizations.

Binay added, “If elected, he will be performing the duties and functions of a senator. His being part of Ladlad should not be made an issue.”

Ladlad will also participate in the party-list elections next year. In May, it filed before the Comelec its manifestation of intent to participate in the 2013 polls. 

UNA is an alliance of Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and former President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

The group describes itself as the “constructive opposition” to the LP.

No word yet on Loren, Gordon

In the interview, Binay also denied reports that Sen Loren Legarda and former Sen Richard Gordon are already official senatorial bets of UNA.

“Let’s just say it’s official once we declare it,” said Binay.

UNA Spokesperson JV Bautista, however, previously told Rappler that Legarda is “almost sure to be announced.”

UNA has so far named 7 official candidates:

  1. Joey De Venecia (PDP-Laban)
  2. Cagayan Rep Juan Ponce “Jack” Enrile Jr (NPC)
  3. San Juan Rep Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito (PMP)
  4. Senator Gregorio Honasan II (independent)
  5. Resigned Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri (PMP)
  6. Zambales Rep Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay (PDP-Laban)
  7. Cebu Gov Gwen Garcia (PDP-Laban) 

UNA has deferred announcing a new batch of senatorial bets, saying it has yet to finalize the rest of the slate. – 

View the Elections 2013 Microsite here. 

More in Rappler’s Elections 2013 Coverage: 

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