In a sudden turn of events, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte clarified on Wednesday that he will supporr an anti-discrimination bill, not the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill, as urgent.
“He was referring to an anti-discrimination bill, not SOGIE bill, much like the anti-discrimination ordinance existing in Davao passed when he was still the mayor there,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a message to reporters.
The clarification came after President Duterte stated that he will certify SOGIE bill as “urgent” on Tuesday.
According to the president, he plans on certifying the said bill because he really wants the members of the third sex to be happy.
Earlier on Wednesday, Senate President Tito Sotto said that Duterte clarified that he will certify as urgent not the SOGIE bill but a more general anti-discrimination bill.
“Alert: I am told the President is not certifying the SOGIE bill. He is willing to certify an anti-discrimination bill sans LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) issues. A general anti-discrimination bill like the Davao ordinance,” Sotto said in a message.
The SOGIE bill became controversial after an incident wherein Gretchen Diez, a transgender was prohibited from entering a women’s bathroom in one of the malls in Quezon City. She was even handcuffed and allegedly ridiculed because of her gender preference.
Once the bill is certified as urgent, the Senate and the House of Representative will need to approve the measure on second and third reading on the same day.
The bill’s versions in both houses remain pending at the committee level.