By William Casis
Contributing Editor

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on September 29 said at least 15 senators are opposed to the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) bill.

As far as the Senate is concerned, Sotto related that  he, Senators Joel Villanueva, Manny  Pacquiao and others are objecting to the enactment of SOGIE bill into law.

“I assure you, there is a great majority in the Senate that support your cause,” Sotto leaders told members of church groups and other organizations from various sectors who are against the controversial measure.

Thousands of anti-SOGIE bill protestors staged a rally around the premises of the Senate building in the afternoon of September 30 and called on senators to reject the bill.

Asked if the Bill will not be passed, Sotto answered: “Yes na yes.”

“As a matter of fact, you will be surprised at some of them. I’d rather not name them now but when the proper time comes you will see. A great majority, I will say at least 15 (senators) and counting,” said the Senate leader.

“ We can safely say… we have studied this proposition already, there is no need for it. It is a redundancy.”

“We have the Constitution itself. We have the protection of people on the Constitution. We have the revised penal code. We have the labor code, the civil code, the anti-graft and corrupt practices act. And even the code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees. And the anti-sexual harassment act,” related Sotto.

He said the ratio of those against SOGIE is not 10 is to 1 but 100 is to 1 and that it might even be  1,000 is to 1.

Also present during the meeting were Sen. Villanueva and his father, CIBAC party-list Rep. Eddie Villanueva.

On the other hand, Sen. Risa Hontiveros believes the SOGIE bill still has a strong fighting chance in the Senate.

She said it would be better for the Bill to be presented to the plenary so that the senators can finally deliberate on it and vote.

“There is no need, no reason para patagalin pa yung interpellation dito. Let us put an end to the period of amendments and vote on it so we can tell the  public the facts in supporting and not supporting it,” she said.

She pointed out that it is clear that the laws are not enough to protect the rights of every Filipino especially those belonging to the LGBTQ community