Not about personal belief: Why transgender lawmaker backed death penalty

Karl Cedrick Basco, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2017 12:27 PM

MANILA - It's not about her personal beliefs but the voice of the people. This is how Congresswoman Geraldine Roman explained why she decided to cast a vote in favor of the death penalty bill in the House of Representatives. 

Speaking to ABS-CBN News after the second State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, Roman said it is her obligation as congressional representative to vote according to her constituents' preference. 

"Based on what I did for death penalty, palagay ko dapat mag-act kami bilang representate ng aming distrito," she said. 

Roman, the first transgender politician to win a congressional seat in the predominantly Catholic Philippines, said majority of her constituents wanted her to vote in favor of the death penalty. 

"It is not about my personal belief. It is about the people I represent," Roman said. 

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community earlier said Roman's election in the 2016 polls is a source of hope in a country where Church influence means divorce, abortion and same-sex marriage are banned.

A political neophyte, Roman succeeded her mother as representative of Bataan, where her family has been a political force for three generations. Her mother had to stand down after serving the maximum number of three terms.

In the interview, Roman said her proposed anti-discrimination bill is now at the second reading in the Lower House. The bill is one of the priorities of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, she said. 

"We have to pass the anti-discrimination bill. It is more urgent. We are talking about opportunities for work, studies, delivery of basic service for the members of LGBT," she said.

Roman, meanwhile, rated Duterte's second State of the Nation Address speech 8 out of 10, applauding the President on his sincerity to fight and eradicate the drug problem and criminality in the country. 

"The president is not concerned about his image. He is concerned about defending the rights of Filipino people and the interest of the Filipinos," she said. With Agence France Presse