Press Release
August 30, 2018

Transcript of Sen. Joel Villanueva's ANC Headstart interview on SOGIE

Karen Davila: This isn't a proposal pushing for same sex marriage. Am I right?

Senator Joel Villanueva: It shouldn't be. The author of the measure already admitted that it is not, not even a prelude to same sex marriage. So if it is really an anti-discrimination measure, we should work on it.

KD: In social media, you are lumped with Senate President Tito Sotto, Senator Manny Pacquiao who are known conservatives. You understand? But it seems now that you are sharing it.

SJV: It's not just the three of us, Karen. There are so many senators out there. Believe me, they are not as vocal as the three of us. Because of the issues that we are confronting is that somehow now it appears that we are trying to legislate based on feelings. For example, if I feel like a woman today, I can go to the women's bathroom. What would prevent the Congress from passing a measure na anti-discrimination na based on age naman, for instance. Na ang sasabihin naman for example, yung bata 15 years old nagda-drive ng sasakyan tapos ang sasabihin niya 'E I feel like I'm 22 years old. I'm 15 years old but I feel like I'm 22 years old.'

KD: But that's taking it too far.

SJV: Exactly. That is if you do it. That is if you legislate a law based on how you feel.

KD: But this is why I have to correct you about the LGBT community. It's not on how they feel, it's what they are identified with.

SJV: I respect that. I wanted to protect that preference on how you wanted to be identified. That's why we have to come up with mechanisms to make sure that it will not be abused. For instance, there's a group of people laughing and you feel na ikaw yung pinagtatawanan based on your identification. What if di naman ikaw (yung pinagtatawanan)? And you filed charges against these people?

KD: But how would you prove it in court naman?

SJV: How? How?

KD: I want kasi what's in the bill. I'll give you an example. You are a private corporation and you have all types of employees. Someone comes in who identifies herself as a transgender. The boss says, 'You know what? I respect your gender identification but we are an investment firm. You need to wear pants.' That's more concrete. That's very real ah. Let's discuss that. Sabi niya, 'we respect your preference but you cannot cross-dress but then sabi ng LGBT community, 'Cross-dressing for us is how we are identified.' Paano yun?

SJV: I would support the company because that's the company culture e.

KD: That you have to dress like a man?

SJV: If it's a uniform then you have to dress...

KD: Hindi, walang uniform. Civilian.

SJV: But Karen the example is like the student manual of some universities. It's the same thing. If you cannot submit to the culture and the policy, beliefs of this religious have to respect it.

KD: That's why I took out the religious side. This is a company. Isn't that discrimination? Because I can't Imagine telling someone 'You know, dress like me. Because I think the way I dress is the right thing.'

SJV: Paano if it's a company policy? It is a company policy that they don't allow cross-dressing. So it is your choice if you want to apply for this company or not.

KD: You don't see that as discrimination?

SJV: I don't see it because there's a company policy e. If there's a company policy, it is a different story when all of a sudden company policy changes because there's someone applying here for a job.

KD: Who's to say that a man cannot wear a skit? That's the question, e.

SJV: That's a company policy e. If there's none...

KD: But a woman can wear pants. I can dress like a man. I don't think my boss can stop me.

SJV: If it has nothing to do with your work. For instance, if you're going to a crane for instance and you wanted to...

KD: Hindi yan yun e. Ang issue ng discrimination is something like that. You're in an office and you...

SJV: I already answered, Karen. If it is a company policy, you have to submit. It has nothing to do with your competence. It has nothing to do with the job being asked of you. It is a company policy and how you dress.

KD: And you don't feel that discriminates their right to express themselves?

SJV: Yes. Because that is a company policy e.

KD: Is Senator Risa willing to remove that?

SJV: I will raise it in the coming (deliberations).

KD: Because religious freedom is one thing. But talk about normal companies. I think that's the bigger issues. Yung sabihan ka ng boss mo, you're in a BPO...

SJV: If you talk about public sector for instance baka pwede pa e, but this is a private company, Karen. For example, you are a world-class designer of wedding gowns. Ang talagang magwwear lang nito ay yung body of a woman and then there comes a guy who wanted to wear it. May kontrata ka na gawan siya ng tarje de boda. And you declined because yun nga ang design mo e. Will you be criminalized for not selling the dress? Yes. How would you protect these designers?

KD: This is quite interesting because there's a big range.

SJV: That's what we want to address. Again, I am for anti-discrimination measures. We love the LGBT community. I have a lot of friends who are LGBT personalities and I hope and pray that we'll be able to come up with measure that will really address anti-discrimination practices.

KD: Ok. On that note, Senator Joel Villanueva, What a pleasure to have you. You were very passionate about the SOGIE.

SJV: Everything, everything. Thank you.

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