MANILA — Senate President Vicente Sotto III believes a proposed law protecting the LGBT community from hate crimes and discrimination "as is will not make it" even if President Rodrigo Duterte certifies the measure as a priority bill.
"Make no mistake, the SOGIE bill as is will not make it even if the President certifies the Hontiveros version. Remember separation of powers?" Sotto said in a statement.
The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill filed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros prohibits stigmatizing the LGBT in media and denying a person access to an institution, service or establishment based on gender, among others. Conservative groups, including Christian denominations, opposed the measure, alleging it would be discriminatory against sectors outside the LGBT.
Duterte on Tuesday was asked if he would certify as urgent the SOGIE bill, which seeks to protect the LGBT community from hate crimes and prejudice. He replied: "Yes, whatever would make the mechanisms, what would make them happy."
His spokesperson Salvador Panelo clarified Wednesday that Duterte "was referring to an anti-discrimination bill, not SOGIE bill."
Duterte to certify as urgent anti-discrimination bill, not SOGIE: Palace
Sen. Sonny Angara has filed a measure seeking to ban "all forms" of discrimination in the country.
Bills certified as urgent forego the "3-day rule" that requires 3 readings on separate days.
"It does not mean the bill will pass," said Sotto, noting that lawmakers in the previous 17th Congress did not approve the revival of death penalty and the second package of tax reforms certified as urgent by Duterte.
In the previous Congress, SOGIE languished in the Senate after the House of Representatives approved its counterpart measure.
Senators started re-tackling SOGIE following the temporary detention of a transgender woman who attempted to use the female toilet at a Quezon City mall last month.