2022 Philippine Elections

Presidential bets say no to same-sex marriage; 2 open to civil unions

Aika Rey
Presidential bets say no to same-sex marriage; 2 open to civil unions

SAME SEX UNIONS. LGBTQ+ organizations Bahaghari and Metro Manila Pride lead the annual Pride March from Agham Road to the Bantayog ng mga Bayani protest grounds in Quezon City.

File photo

Senator Manny Pacquiao maintains he was 'misquoted' when he said people were worse than animals if they were to engage in same-sex relationships

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidates for the 2022 elections do not think same-sex marriage should be allowed in the Philippines, but two candidates said they could support civil unions among LGBTQ+ couples.

During the “Yes or No” portion of veteran journalist Jessica Soho’s interview with top presidential bets that aired on Saturday, January 22, Soho asked the candidates whether same-sex marriage should be allowed.

Senator Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno answered “No.”

Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, said if the question pertains to civil unions, his answer was “Yes.” But if it involves marriage in a church, he answered in the negative.

Vice President Leni Robredo said she supports “same-sex unions.”

Dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. skipped the GMA interview.

This stance among candidates in a predominantly Catholic country is not surprising, as presidential bets need to court the vote of the Church.

Advocates have long been rallying support to allow same-sex marriage in the country, but this has been met with strong opposition from the Catholic Church. 

In 2020, a new documentary about Pope Francis revealed that the pontiff supports same-sex civil unions. Later, the Pope had to reiterate the old church teaching that priests could not bless these unions.

In the 18th Congress, there are two bills seeking to recognize civil unions between heterosexual and same-sex couples. The proposed measures seek to accord couples the same benefits as marriage, including adoption, separation, labor privileges, and taxes. 

The House bills have been pending at the committee on population and family relations despite being filed in 2019.

While it has yet to be legalized in the Philippines, the Supreme Court has made a crucial pronouncement in 2019 that the Constitution does not explicitly ban same-sex marriage.

‘Masahol pa sa hayop’ remark

Pacquiao, who has branded himself as quite the evangelist, had once compared the LGBTQ+ community to animals in a controversial interview that earned him public backlash.

During the interview on Saturday, Soho asked Pacquiao if he regretted saying “mas masahol pa sa hayop ang tao (people were worse than animals)” if they were to engage in same-sex relationships.

The boxer-turned-politician said his faith in God remains, and that more gay people have supported him.

But Pacquiao maintained that he was merely “misquoted.”

“Na-misquote lang po talaga ko. Mali lang po ‘yung pag-intindi. Mahaba ang explanation sa paliwanag na ‘yun,” said Pacquiao.

(I was merely misquoted. It was a misunderstanding. There had been a lengthy explanation on that remark.)

But has he changed his stance years later, now that he’s running for the presidency?

Pacquiao answered, “‘Di po ako pabor diyan (I am not in favor of that).”

“Bilang sa paniniwala natin sa faith natin, kailangan do’n tayo sa gusto ng Panginoon (Since this is our faith, we need to abide by what the Lord wants),he added.

In 2016, Pacquiao apologized to the LGBTQ+ community over the remark, but sports equipment giant Nike later canceled its contract with him. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.