Senatorial candidate Jericho Petilla has expressed his support for the LGBT community by saying that – while he was born and raised as a Roman Catholic – he is not against the legalization of same-sex unions.
In a post in his official website, the former Governor of Leyte said that he believes that “same-sex marriage is an issue of equality and fairness, more than anything.”
Petilla also noted that under current Philippine laws, LGBT partners are deprived of certain rights and benefits simply because their unions are not recognized as legal unions. For example, LGBT partners are not entitled to right of inheritance because they are not considered legal heirs of each other. LGBT partners likewise cannot legally adopt as a couple because their unions are not considered legal.
“There are many other laws and rules in this country that tend to discriminate against the LGBT simply because they are ineligible to marry,” Petilla elaborated.
The senatorial candidate’s position is, however, still aligned with “separate but equal” – that is, Petilla believes that, while he is in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages, he also said that the government cannot compel the church to recognize these unions. “The State is distinct and separate from the Church,” he said, thereby expressing a position that gives churches the right to discriminate.
If elected, Petilla vowed to push for legislation that will review and revise any law that tend to discriminate against members of the LGBT community.
Petilla was the former Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE) of the Philippines. He has served as the Governor of the Province of Leyte (2004-2012).