Rep. Abante did it again! November 17, 2006Posted by lagablab in Anti-Discrimination Bill, Discrimination, gay discrimination, gay rights, gay rights Philippines, in the news, lagablab alert!, LGBT News.
In the House of Representatives, Rep. Bienvenido Abante (6th District, Manila City), the Chairperson of the Committee on Civil, Political and Human Rights, blocked anew the passage of HB 634, or the Anti-Discrimination Bill, following the sponsorship speech made by AKBAYAN Rep. Etta Rosales.
On November 14, 2006, the solon, a known bishop of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church, questioned the sponsorship of Anti-Discrimination Bill by AKBAYAN Rep. Etta Rosales, which resulted in a heated debate between him and Rep. Rosales. Abante said that LGBT rights are not fundamental human rights issues, and he claimed that as the chair of the human rights committee, he is not even aware of the bill. He said that he would continue to oppose the bill because it would lead to same sex marriage.
Intrerestingly, a few weeks ago, Rep. Abante appeared on a TV show to condemn the bill. He likewise called homosexuality morally reprehensible. This public statement clearly belies his claim that he is not aware of the bill’s existence. This is also not the first time that he blocked the bill’s passage.
LAGABLAB is calling for the resignation of Rep. Abante as Chair of the House Committee on Human Rights. His outrageous ignorance of the basic principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms and his failure to grasp their universality mean that he does not deserve to be the Chair of the committee. Furthermore, his lack of compassion and sense of empathy indicates that he is incapable of promoting human rights.
Below are two news articles from the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the heated debate in Congress on the Anti-Discrimination Bill. We once again urge members of the LGBT and human rights community to send protest letters to the office of Rep Abante. If you are from his district in Manila, please do not vote for Rep. Abante in the 2007 elections.
Office of Rep. Bienvenido Abante, Jr.
Rm. 407, South-wing,
House of Representatives,
Batasan Hills, Quezon City
Phone: 931-5001 local 7248 or 9315691 (telefax)
Debate mars sponsorship of gay rights bill
Manila’s Abante vows to block measure
By Maila Ager
Last updated 07:40pm (Mla time) 11/14/2006
A HEATED debate between the chairman of the House human rights committee and his predecessor Tuesday night over a bill that seeks to prohibit discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Manila Representative Bienvenido Abante, the committee chairman, branded “highly questionable” Akbayan Representative Loretta Ann Rosales’ sponsorship speech for House Bill 634, or “An act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and providing penalties therefore,” which was approved when she still chaired of the committee.
Abante was given the committee chairmanship after Rosales supported the failed impeachment case against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The Manila solon complained that he was unaware of the bill’s inclusion in the agenda.
“I find it very unethical Mr. Speaker. I’m the chairman of the committee on human rights but I’m not even made aware that this should be in the agenda today,” Abante said. “What congresswoman Rosales did is highly out of order.”
But Rosales countered that she could not be out of order because she was recognized by the presiding officer to sponsor the bill.
“Apparently, the chair of the committee on human rights has not been listening and has not been observing the rules of the plenary,” Rosales said.
She also reminded Abante that the measure had been approved on third and final reading during the 12th Congress and was only re-filed for approval under the current Congress.
Talking to reporters, Abante vowed to block the measure.
He said he would not allow the bill to pass for fear that its passage would pave the way for the approval of another measure, this time allowing gay marriages in the country.
House rights chair hit for blocking bill on gay rights
By Philip Tubeza
Page A2 of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 16, 2006
A GAY RIGHTS groups condemned on Wednesday Manila Representative Bienvenido Abante, who is also a bishop of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church, for opposing a bill penalizing discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs).
The Lesbian and Gay Legislative Advocacy Network (LAGABLAB-Pilipinas) lambasted Abante, urging him to resign as chair of the House committee on human rights for “his homophobia and atrocious ignorance of the basic principles of human rights.”
Abante had opposed the passage of House Bill 637 or the “Act Prohibiting Discrimination on Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Providing Penalties Thereof.”
The group said that Abante’s “ridiculous opposition” to a human rights measure like the Anti-Discrimination Bill “betrays a fundamental disregard and disrespect of his mandate as the human rights committee chair.”
“He should resign from his position if he himself cannot grasp the universality of human rights and human dignity. How can he promote human rights when he has no sense of empathy and compassion?” said Jonas Bagas, LAGABLAB secretary general.
“He should also undergo human rights education to understand that in our Constitution and in various international human rights agreements that the Philippines signed, equal protection from discrimination is guaranteed for all, regardless of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity,” he added.
Abante earned the ire of the LGBTs after he questioned the sponsorship speech of Akbayan party-list Representative Loretta Ann Rosales for the bill before the plenary on Tuesday.
“Mr. Speaker, I highly question the sponsorship speech of Congresswoman Etta Rosales on this, because I find it very unethical. Mr. Speaker, I am the chair of the committee on human rights [but] I am not even aware of this bill,” Abante had said.
He later succeeded in having the House suspend the consideration of the bill, which was passed by the House human rights committee when Rosales was still its chair.
Bagas said it was the second time Abante blocked the passage of the bill by claiming that it would promote “same-sex marriage.”
“But that is not even mentioned in the proposed law. The Anti-Discrimination Bill will not allow for the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. It is only about curbing discriminatory practices and policies. To claim otherwise is to commit a grave lie,” Bagas explained.
He added that not all religious people or religious organizations “are as bigoted as Representative Abante.”
“During the 12th Congress, the bill was supported by other religious organizations, specifically the NCCP/UCCP and Iglesia ni Kristo. We in LAGABLAB are aware that there are religious denominations that are opposed to homosexuality, but are nonetheless in solidarity with the LGBT community in protecting their rights and freedoms,” Bagas said.
He added that other human rights organizations supporting the bill included Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists.