Faith factor delays Sogie bill in Senate
MANILA, Philippines — The outcry from certain religious factions has hindered the advancement of a proposed bill that intends to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (Sogie).
Senator Risa Hontiveros revealed during a Senate session on Wednesday that she’s eager to sponsor the bill on the plenary in December 2022, but it’s currently in a “kind of suspension or limbo.”
Hontiveros said she was looking forward to the bill being referred to the committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality which she chairs after she heard that some religious groups want to join in on the hearings.
“Today, I am still waiting for it to be remanded. I have no illusions that the bill will sail through this chamber quickly, and I am ready to defend it on the floor as a sponsor defends any bill — with arguments and logic,” she said.
“What I was not ready for was for this bill to be in this kind of suspension or limbo,” Hontiveros added.
In response, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva revealed that he has received letters from religious groups saying they were not consulted on the Sogie bill. As a result, Villanueva spoke with various senators about potential options, stressing that it is not limited to returning the measure to the original committee.
In particular, Villanueva mentioned Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who said to “wait for a bit because he wanted to come up with a holistic approach” to the proposed law.
The Senate Majority Leader suggested sending the bill to the Senate committee on rules for further study, but Hontiveros objected.
At that point, the Senate voted to send the matter back to the rules committee.