'Nasa 21st century na tayo'; 2022 senatoriables approve same-sex unions

Mico Abarro, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2021 12:35 AM

MANILA -- Five senatorial candidates running in the 2022 national elections said Tuesday they supported same-sex marriage and civil unions. 

One of the senatoriables, labor leader Atty. Renecio "Luke" Espiritu, said in TeleRadyo's "Sino SENyo" senatorial candidates' interview that there was no place for those against it in the current century. 

"Hindi na po pwede sa 21st century ang mga utak backward," the Partido Lakas ng Masa bet said. "Wala tayong karapatan na diktahan ang kung sino ang iibigin ng bawat tao. Wala tayong karapatan na diktahan kung sino ang mamahalin nila at kung saan sila liligaya. Wala tayong karapatan na didiktahan na dapat straight lang ang mga relasyon." 

(There is no place in the 21st century for those with backward thinking. We have no right to dictate who a person can love. We have no right to dictate who they will love and what will make them happy. We have no right to dictate that all relationships must be straight.)

Others with him at the interview were consumer advocate Rodolfo Bobila “R.J.” Javellana Jr. running under Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino, Sorsogon governor and former senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero of the Nationalist People's Coalition, former defense secretary Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro Jr. from the People's Reform Party, and disability advocate and independent candidate Carmen Zubiaga. 

Escudero said no religion has any monopoly on deciding what kind of unions are recognized in the country. But at the same time, he also noted that its passage must be timely, as the country faces a pandemic. 

"Sa isang pandemya, ang importante ay magka-isa, magtulungan," he said. "Hindi maghanap nanaman ng panibagong issue na pwede natin paghiwa-hiwalayan o pag-awayan." 

(In a pandemic, we must be united and help each other out. Not go looking for another issue that will divide us or make us fight each other.)

Zubiaga meanwhile said the state should respect whatever living arrangement a person wants, and that it should also protect those living in same-sex marriages against abuse. 

"Kung gusto ng simbahan na ito ay tanggihan, ay wala naman po silang magagawa sa kagustuhan natin," she said. "Kaya bigyan natin ng karapatan ang bawat isa na maproteksyunan sa kanilang mga relasyon." 

(If the Church wants to deny this, they won't be able to do anything about what we want. That's why we should give everyone the right to protect their relationships.) 

As for Javellana, he said that "democratic consultation" must be done before same-sex marriages or unions are legalized. 

"Napaka-halaga ng i-respeto natin ang relasyon ng mga indibidwal na ito," he said. "Hanggang hindi ito nakaka-sangga sa kaunlaran ng estado ay wala pong problema." 

(It is important for us to respect the relationships of these individuals. So as long as it does not interfere with the prosperity of the state, I see no problem with it.) 

Teodoro, a lawyer like Escudero and Espiritu, said he supports same-sex marriages and unions. But he also noted that other details should be discussed, such as how a child adopted by parents of the same sex should be treated. 

"Ang living arrangements ng same-sex couples, hindi lang nakaka-apekto yan sa kanila," he said. "Kung hindi as a system sa mga aampunin nila or kung gusto nilang mag-surrogacy." 

(The living arrangements of same-sex couples will not affect just them, but also, as a system, to the children they will adopt or birth through surrogacy.) 

At least one LGBT rights group, Bahaghari, has called for the passage of a law that would legalize same-sex civil unions in the Philippines. Pope Francis endorsed such an arrangement in October 2020. 

But earlier this year, the pontiff signed off on a Vatican decree that banned priests from blessing same-sex unions. 

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