Senatorial bets: Different stands on same-sex unions
MANILA, Philippines – Several aspirants for the Senate in the 2016 polls were one in chiding fellow senatorial candidate Manny Pacquiao, after the popular Filipino boxer said that couples of same-sex unions were "worse than animals" – a remark that cost the Sarangani representative a Nike endorsement and earned him international backlash.
But when it comes to whether or not they agree with same-sex unions and pushing for more rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, these senatorial bets differ on their stands.
Pacquiao's fellow candidates from the United Nationalist Alliance are against same-sex marriage, citing the stand of their respective religions:
- Parañaque Councilor Alma Moreno: We are accountable only for our own actions. Ang dami kong kilala na mga gay na napakadisente, na nagbabayad ng tamang buwis, na maraming naiambag sa industriya at sa iba't ibang larangan tulad ng business, akademya, at pati na sa politika. Kaya I think, at the very least, they deserve our respect. (We are accountable only for our own actions. I know a lot of gay people who are very decent, who pay the right taxes, and have made huge contributions to different sectors like business, the academe, and even in politics. So I think, at the very least, they deserve our respect.)
- Sulu Princess Jacel Kiram: As a Muslim Filipina, it (same-sex marriage) is non-acceptable in our belief. But it is our belief, so we just have to respect the belief of others.... Para magkaroon talaga ng pagkakaisa. Di naman tayo magkakapareho ng paniniwala. (So there will be unity. Not everyone share the same beliefs), but we'll be one if we learn to respect each other's belief.
- Broadcaster Rey Langit: Langit said he is open "to some kind of rights and responsibilities that are being extended to the gay community," but "marriage is a sacred bond between a man and woman."
- Labor lawyer Allan Montaño: [I] am not in favor of same-sex marriage. As a practical Catholic, the Bible says: No man is to have sexual relations with another man. Leviticus 18: 22; Surely you know that the wicked will not possess God's kingdom...homosexuality...pervert. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
But there's an exception: former Special Action Forces chief Getulio Napeñas Jr, who cited freedom of choice and civil rights in his support of same-sex marriage: "Kung gusto niya, he can do it. Ngayon pa lang, naniniwala ako na ang tao ay may karapatan gawin kung saan sila masaya. (If he wants it, he can do it. Even now, I believe that a person has the right to do what makes him happy.)
In favor of same-sex unions
Several senatorial bets of the ruling Liberal Party earlier aired their support for same-sex unions.
- TIEZA chief operating officer Mark Lapid: Hindi na pinag-uusapan ang religous rights dito. Ang pinag-uusapan natin ang human rights. [Dapat] pantay-pantay ang tingin ng lipunan. (We're not talking about religious rights here. We're talking about human rights. Society must treat give equal treatment to everyone.)
- Former energy secretary Jericho Petilla: The difference with a man and a woman union is that they have benefits. But for LGBT relationships, they do not enjoy that such as lower income tax rates.
Meanwhile, the LP's lone Muslim senatorial candidate, Nariman Ambolodto, said that while her religion teaches male-female relationships, "we have to recognize and respect same-sex relationships."
Ambolodto also said that she is in favor of a law that would respect the rights of same-sex couples, including property rights.
For his part, former senator Francis Pangilinan stopped short of saying he supports same-sex unions, saying he was still studying his position.
"Anuman ang aking maging pasya, kinikilala ko ang karapatan ng bawat isa na magmahal at maging masaya sa piling ng kanyang mahal sa buhay anuman ang kanyang kasarian,” he said.
(Whatever my decision will be, I recognize the right of everyone to love and be happy with anyone, whatever his or her gender.)
Asked about the LGBT community in a forum in Los Baños, Pangilinan said, "Kailangan po nating kilalanin na ang lahat ng tao ay anak ng Diyos at ang lahat ay may mga karapatan." (We need to recognize that everyone is a child of God, and that everyone has rights.)
“Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whoever, wherever, and whenever we are. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent, and indivisible,” he added.
Open to discussions
Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez earlier said that he was open to starting debates and discussions on public policy for same-sex unions.
His call for discussion was echoed by Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, who called Pacquiao's comment "below the belt."
"Dapat di na dagdagan discrimantion sa LGBT sector by comparing them to animals. The perfect quote is it's below the belt," he said. (Let's not add to discrimination against the LGBT sector.)
Colmenares is author of House Bill 1842 or the Anti-Discrimination Act of 2013, which seeks to eliminate all forms of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Lawyer Lorna Kapunan, who is running under the Partido Galing at Puso of Grace Poe and Francis Escudero, earlier said that she supports the beneficial legal consequences of a domestic partnership for same-sex couples.
Pacquiao has apologized for his remarks, saying he was only "telling the truth" as stated in the Bible. (READ: Pacquiao cites scripture to clarify same-sex remark) – with reports from Mara Cepeda, Patty Pasion, and Jee Geronimo/Rappler.com
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