PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will support the passage of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Equality (Sogie) bill, Malacañang said on Thursday, August 15, after a transgender woman was denied entry to a comfort room in a mall in Quezon City.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said any proposed measure that promotes "fair treatment to all," including members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, would get the President's nod.
"I remember the President expressed support for the LGBT one time, ‘di ba (doesn't he)? So, I think he will support that kind. Eh, ang gusto n'un is palaging (What he wants is to always have) fair treatment to all," the Palace official said.
"As far as we're concerned, we have to protect the rights of all people," he added.
Panelo made the remark after transgender woman Gretchen Diez was arrested Tuesday, August 13, for unjust vexation after she documented how she was barred by a janitress from entering a women's comfort room in a mall in Cubao.
Diez, however, was released on the same day, after the janitress apologized and backed out from filing the unjust vexation case.
Panelo said the refusal to let Diez urinate in the ladies' comfort room is a clear violation of an ordinance in Quezon City known as the Gender-Fair Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination against people’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
He then reminded the public that all LGBT members should be respected at all times.
"Our position is we have to respect LGBT. At saka (And) another thing, there is an ordinance eh. There is an ordinance to respect them, so, violation ‘yung ginawa doon sa transgender (what was done to the transgender was a violation of the ordinance)," Panelo said.
“Batay doon sa ordinansa ng Quezon City, that's a violation. May ordinance sila eh (They have an ordinance). Pero (But) I understand the [janitress] has already apologized and she is willing to be educated on the rights of the LGBT," he added.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, who refiled the Sogie bill in the 18th Congress, renewed her call on her fellow lawmakers to pass the measure.
The Sogie bill was approved by the House of Representatives in 2017, but its version in the Senate experienced delays during the interpellation period.
Panelo said the Palace would let Congress decide on the fate of the bill aimed at promoting the rights of the LGBT community.
"'Yung (The) passage will depend on the wisdom of the lawmakers. We cannot encroach on that," he said.
In March 2017, the President said members of the LGBT community can do everything that makes them “happy and fulfilled” but should ensure that they do not violate the law. (SunStar Philippines)