A fourth issue that the SOGIE bill presents (the first three were in my previous weeks’ articles) is that there are existing laws that can be called to bear that already protect the LGBTQ+ without the need for SOGIE.
A former student in our Masteral class, Ochebed de la Cruz, studied law and has presented his position in the Senate hearing on the SOGIE bill last September 4, 2019 as my source. He says there are already sufficient civil, administrative, criminal, and political laws recognizing “equal protection rights” that can be invoked by anyone including LBGTQ+ persons. The rest of the article is from part of his paper.
The following is a non-exhaustive sampling of such laws:
1. The Labor Code of the Philippines: a. Art 3: The State shall afford protection to labor, promote employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed.
b. Art 6: All rights and benefits granted to works under this Code shall apply alike to all workers. c. Equal Work for Equal Pay Act OF 1989 (RA 6758) and Employment of Women and Children (RA 679 and PD 442).
2. The Revised Penal Code: a. Article 287 on Unjust Vexation; b. Articles 282-287 on Threats and Coercion; c. Articles 290-291 on the Discovery and Revelation of Secrets;
d. Articles 353-362 on Libel and Slander; e. Article 364 on Intriguing Against Honor.
3. The Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 (RA 7877).
4. Anti Torture Act of 2009 (RA 9745), Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 (RA 9995), Anti-Child Pornography Act (RA 9775), and Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (RA 9208).
5. Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in the Philippines (R.A. 3019, sections 3 and 9) on prohibiting public officials to unduly injure any party or neglect one’s duty, after appropriate request, without justification, among others. See also: PD no 1829 on the Decree Penalizing Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders.
6. The Anti-Bullying Act of 2013.
7. Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 (RA 9262).
8. Civil Code of the Philippines, Chapter 2 (Human Relations): a. Articles 19 to 21 –These provisions allow relief for victims who are injured by acts – whether done willfully or negligently–which, at a certain dimension, even appear legal. b. Article 26 provides a list of acts, although they may not exactly are criminal offenses, which can cause an action for damages, prevention, and other reliefs. The list includes “prying into the privacy of another’s residence, meddling with or disturbing the private life or family relations of another, intriguing to cause another on account of his religious beliefs, lowly station in life, place of birth, physical defect, or other personal condition.” c. Article 27 allows victims to file for damages if they are unduly discriminated or neglected by public employees, without just cause, when asked to perform their official duty. Another administrative case can be filed against them. d. Articles 29 to 31 explain that criminal and civil complaints can be filed separately, and civil cases only require a preponderance of evidence while criminal cases require proof beyond reasonable doubt. e. Article 328 enumerates the circumstances where a person can file a civil action against anyone who impairs the rights and freedoms acknowledged therein, which includes 19 different freedoms that even exceed what the SOGIE bill demands. This means that the SOGIE bill is redundant and its advocates promote a lie when they say that no law covers them.
f. Article 33 allows civil action for damages due to fraud, defamation, physical injury, and can be proceed independently of a criminal action. g. Article 34 deplores discrimination done by police.
The above citations from our existing laws prove that concerns raised by the propos[ed bill] are already sufficiently covered rendering any new laws to be unnecessary and runs the danger of undermining and superceding other criminal laws found to be “inconsistent” to the bill. These laws only require the violation of the rights of persons for their enforcement and the retribution, and gender is not supposed to be an issue . . . Whenever the law says that it is applicable to all, we understand that all persons are covered by it. Moreover, whenever the law mentions the terms men, women, male, of female, we know that all other self-identifications are absorbed in those terms. For example, a lesbian is already absorbed in the term “woman” or “female.” A transwoman, for us, is already absorbed in the term “man” or “male.” Thus, in terms of the applicability of laws, there is no reason for our legal system to restrict the application of our current laws to them. The enforcement of the existing laws enumerated above is the alternative that we are more in agreement with.