MANILA -- In an awkward moment in Thursday's Senate hearing on the government's campaign against the illegal drug trade, a lawmaker demonstrated the confusion that some conservative Filipinos often have when addressing members of the so-called "third sex."
Asking about actions the National Youth Commission (NYC) can take to prevent the spread of illegal substances among the young, Senator Manny Pacquiao faltered when addressing agency chair Aiza Seguerra.
"Ano ang aksyon niyo, mister—missus—mister Seguerra?" Pacquiao said with an apologetic smile, eliciting laughter from fellow senators and others who attended the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs session.
Seguerra, without missing a beat, replied, "Senator Pacquiao, hindi pa po ako missus."
Seguerra, who married his wife, actress Liza Dino in US last year, and in January in a "symbolic ceremony" in Batangas, is a transgender.
Incidentally, Pacquiao had been under fire for his views on same-sex relationships.
In 2015, Pacquiao was criticized by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community for saying those who engage in same-sex relationships are "worse than animals."
A conservative Christian, the boxer-lawmaker stirred debates globally and eventually lost endorsement contracts.
Pacquiao later apologized for his words but said that he would "rather obey the Lord's command than obeying the desires of the flesh."
"I'm not condemning anyone, but I'm just telling the truth of what the Bible says. The truth from the Bible is what changed me from my old ways."