MANILA - The passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill will still be up to lawmakers even as President Duterte has expressed support for the landmark measure, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
“With respect to any bill, the discretion, the wisdom will always lie in the lawmakers,” Panelo said.
He was responding to Senate President Vicente Sotto III's statement that the bill protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community stands no chance of passing at the Senate.
“Still, even if the President supports it, if Congress disagrees, that’s how the so-called balance of power and checks and balances operate,” he said.
Panelo, however, could not confirm whether the President would certify the bill as urgent following his meeting with transgender woman Gretchen Diez and other LGBTQ rights advocates in Malacanang last week.
Diez, the trans woman who recently figured in a toilet incident in a Quezon City mall, said Duterte personally assured her of his support for the anti-discrimination bill.
Diez was detained following a scuffle that ensued when a janitress barred her from using the women's toilet at the mall. The incident revived debates on the anti-discrimination bill.