MANILA — For Senator Manny Pacquiao, cross-dressing can be used for criminal activities.
During Monday's Senate session on the anti-discrimination bill, Pacquiao revived the controversial death of Jennifer Laude in his interpellation of Senator Risa Hontiveros, who was defending her anti-sexual harassment bill. Laude, a transgender woman, was killed by American Joseph Scott Pemberton in Subic in 2014.
Pacquiao initially started his questioning with men dressing as women who might pose a danger to women inside public restrooms. Hontiveros is pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 1271, which aims to fight discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
"Ano ba gagawin natin diyan na nagdamit babae yung lalaki tapos nabigla yung lalaki na lalaki ka pala, eh pinatay," Pacquiao said, referring to the case of Pemberton who killed Laude in Subic, Zambales in 2014.
He also invoked the Bible which said that men should dress as men and women dress as women. Pacquiao also noted that the murder case of Pemberton was downgraded to homicide because of the supposed deception by Laude.
Both Hontiveros and Senator Leila de Lima, however, defended the case of Laude and the LGBT community. De Lima corrected Pacquiao, saying the case was not downgraded because of deception.
Hontiveros also emphasized that because of what happened to Laude, it is essential that an anti-discrimination law be passed.
"Si Jennifer ay nanamit kasunod ng kanyang sexual orientation at gender identity at gender expression. Siya ay naging totoo sa kanyang pagkatao. Ang nagkasala diyan ay si Pemberton. Huwag sana tayo mag-victim blaming dito," Hontiveros said.