MALACAÑANG said President Rodrigo Duterte cannot do anything if Congress will not pass the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) bill since the Executive cannot encroach on the territory of the Legislative Branch.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement following the resistance of some lawmakers to the passage of the bill which was intended to prevent any form of discrimination against people based on their gender orientation or expression.
Even Senate President Tito Sotto said that the SOGIE bill had no chance of hurdling the Senate.
Panelo said the passage of the bill will depend on the wisdom of the lawmakers.
“With respect to any bill the discretion, the wisdom will always lie in the lawmakers,” he said.
Earlier, transwoman Gretchen Diez, who was involved in a discrimination incident, said that President Duterte assured her of his support for the SOGIE bill and that it would be passed.
However, Panelo said the President can only do so much.
“Still even if the President supports it, if Congress disagrees that’s how the so-called balance of power and checks and balances operate,” he said.
Panelo earlier said the Palace respected the rights of the LGBT community, reiterating that President Duterte has already expressed his support for them.
“Our position is we have to respect LGBT. I remember the President expressed support for the LGBT one time, ‘di ba (right)?” he said.