“Culturally, our values may conflict with the many values that they want to impose on us… We are not ready for that. Culturally, we are not ready for that.”
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla issued this statement on the proposed legalization of same sex marriage in the country. He was actually reiterating his stand that he was opposed to same sex marriage due to some vital considerations.
“That’s what we believe. Unless somebody argues otherwise. That’s our position right now,” Remulla said.
Justice Undersecretary Raul Vasquez also said the Philippines outrightly rejected recommendations made by member-states of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the legalization of abortion and divorce.
“There are several items, however, that out rightly, because of our national identity, our religious beliefs, and our cultural traditions, and the Philippine sovereignty that we need to uphold and protect at all times, there were several things that we did not accept or we rejected outright,” he said.
“And that would be the legalization of abortion and the matter of divorce,” Vasquez added.
Earlier, the DOJ said it accepted 200 recommendations during the the Universal Periodic Review, a peer-review mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
According to Vasquez, major recommendations that the country accepted include the promotion of the rights of children, protection of women’s rights, the promotion of the rights of indigenous people, and greater protection of civic space.
Remulla explained that the delegation could not accept the recommendation on divorce because it is a legislative matter.
Despite this, the Justice Secretary said the matter of divorce is debatable.
“That’s why we cannot commit to it is because we cannot impose upon the legislature policy that they have to do within Congress,” he said.
“Actually, it’s a long discussion with the UN on this matter. Because they are of the opinion that if you go to the table, you should be able to tell your country what has to be done. But of course, it does not work that way,” he added.
Meanwhile, Remulla said two UN special rapporteurs are expected to visit the Philippines in early January 2023.
He said the country also invited UN Special Rapporteur on extra-summary or arbitrary executions Morris Tidball-Binz to the country.
“We invited a third one on EJKs (extra judicial killings).Why? Because we want to increase or maybe do capacity building for our forensic pathologists in the country,” Remulla said.
The Justice Secretary said Tidball-Binz welcomed the invite. “Actually our invitation was more of a follow-up already on an agreed program that we had in the UNJP [United Nations Joint Programme] for capacity building of our forensic pathologists,” he said.
“Let us hear all sides. While I am devote Catholic, I stand by what the Bible says. I am just following the teachings of the Catholic religion for life,” Dela Rosa said.
But if there are emerging trends and emerging issues that should be given consideration, Dela Rosa urged the public to keep an open mind and heart to the issues.
“For all we know, the lives of the people are affected in the said issues,” the senator said.
“I am open. I can’t say right away that I am here or there. I can be swayed both sides depending on the presentations of the facts and the issues at hand,” he added.
Aside from same sex marriage, the senator said he is also open to listen to divorce and abortion.
He admitted though that these issues involve huge debates since the Philippines is predominantly a Catholic nation.
“How many percent of the Filipinos are Catholic? That will really weigh down on decision making or any measures,” he said.
The senator said he respects the decision of Remulla.
“Well, that is his opinion. We are going to respect his opinion. I have seen him he’s in politics and a Cabinet official,”
Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go said he supports the LGBT, but he has his misgivings on same sex marriage.
“Let us study sex marriage and same sex union. Let us thoroughly study if these are acceptable by many.