On February 13, 2017, Senators Manny Pacquiao and Rissa Hontiveros had a heated exchange on the subject of the Anti-Discrimination Act, otherwise known as Senate Bill No. 1271.
According to a report by a popular online news source, “Senate Bill No. 1271 seeks to stop and penalize discrimination on the basis of gender identity, including a person’s nonconforming clothing choices such as cross-dressing.”
The argument was apparently started by Senator Pacquiao. The world champion boxer/senator reportedly began with the following statement to try and discredit the objectives of the bill:
“Even in the Bible, we can read na ang babae, dapat magsuot na pambabae at ang lalaki, magsuot ng panlalaki. That’s what I believe.”
Pacquiao’s statement that was lifted from his go-to source, the bible, did not sit well with Senator Risa Hontiveros who has been vocal about her support for the Anti-Discrimination Bill.
Sen. Hontiveros responded with, “Yes, the Bible did narrate how man and woman were created and this is reflective on the bill…but I don’t remember the Bible directly ordering the type of dressing for men only as well as for women only.”
She also added another quote from the Bible, presumably to put Sen. Pacquiao in his place.
“There is only one lawgiver and judge, the one who is able to save and destroy but who are you to judge your neighbor,” quoted Hontiveros from the book of James.
It looks like Hontiveros had the final say in her argument with Pacquiao.
However, in a recent interview, 1st District of Bataan Representative Geraldine Roman shared her take on the recent debate between Hontiveros and Pacquiao about the Anti-Discrimination Bill.
“I respect his religious beliefs, but the basis of our laws is not the Bible. It is the Constitution where the tenet of equality is enshrined,” said the representative who also happens to be the first transgender woman to ever get elected as a member of the Philippine Congress.