Vice President Leni Robredo – who hopes to succeed Rodrigo Duterte as the Philippine president after the May 2022 elections – supported the “separate but equal” doctrine on LGBTQIA rights with her support for civil union and opposition to marriage equality.
Interviewed by veteran journalist Jessica Soho for GMA News/Public Affairs (Timestamp: 1:52:28), Robredo was asked if she’s in favor of same-sex marriage. She stated that she only supports same-sex unions.
As defined, marriage – currently defined by the Family Code as between a man and a woman – is a legally recognized arrangement usually consecrated by some church. Meanwhile, a civil union refers to a legally recognized arrangement created primarily as a means to provide recognition in law for same-sex couples.
Overseas, Robredo’s position on marriage equality is linked to the infamous “separate but equal” doctrine in US constitutional law that allowed for racial segregation even if the US Constitution guarantees “equal protection” under the law to all people.
In the case of LGBTQIA rights – e.g. marriage equality – this creates an impression of equality, but with LGBTQIA people still not allowed to avail of services readily available to heterosexual people, they are thereby still not considered as their equals.
Sadly, following the Western approach of of focusing interviews on LGBTQIA issues only on marriage equality, Soho did not ask Robredo about her stance on the anti-discrimination law, as well as the gender recognition law to protect the human rights of LGBTQIA Filipinos.
Surprisingly, when asked who she would choose as the country’s next president over herself, Robredo picked boxer turned politician Manny Pacquiao, who once said LGBTQIA people are “masahol pa sa hayop (worse than animals).”
Also interviewed by Soho, Pacquiao showed no remorse when he used to call LGBTQIA people as “worse than animals”. Instead, he said that he was simply “misquoted.” “Mali lang po yung pagkaintindi sa akin (I was misunderstood),” he said, and yet adding that he does not support marriage equality because of his “faith in God” that tells him to follow “the will of God”.
Robredo has also included in her senatorial slate reelectionist Sen. Joel Villanueva, who has been repeatedly called out for opposing the prompt passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill in the Senate.
Screencapture from the interview of Lent Robredo by veteran Journalist Jessica Soho for GMA News/Public Affairs