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Prof. Danton Remoto, one of the founders of Ladlad, addresses followers outside Comelec on Friday, after the party list filed a manifestation to join the 2013 congressional race. PHOTO BY JHAY CHAVEZ
Ladlad joining House, Senate races; seeks end to hate-slays of LGBTs

in PHILIPPINES, 10/06/2012

With music, some dancing, pink attire and a short program, Ladlad party list, once dubbed by CNN as the only gay political party in the world, signaled its intention to join the 2013 elections for Congress. And, besides throwing its hat into the party-list race, Ladlad is also eyeing a seat in the upper chamber, with no less than its founder and chairman, Prof. Danton Remoto, declaring a plan to run for senator.

Ladlad leaders and supporters on Friday filed with the Commission on Elections a formal participation to join the race as a party list. Party members will be seeking again the songressional seats represented by Bemz Benedicto, Atty. Germaine Trittle Leonin, and Raymond Alikpala.

"Kami ang avengers ng Philippine politics; nagbabalik kami, para magfile ng manifestation of intent to participate ng Ladlad partylist. Dala namin ang listahan ng limang nominado. Legal po kami, makakapagupo kami para ipakita namin sa lahat ang lakas, tapang at talino ng [We are the avengers of Philippine politics. We’re back, we’ve filed a manifestation of intent to participate in the polls. We have our list of nominees. We are legal, and are determined to show the power, strength and courage of the] Filipino gay, lesbian, bisexual, at transgender," Remoto, wearing a pink barong, told reporters Friday.

"I didn’t desire this, but many want me to run as senator. Shall we allow recycled losers to run again? I want to give the Filipino voters an intelligent and great choice for 2013 that's why I am filing, and I am announcing my intention to participate and to run for senators in 2013" Remoto added.

Ladlad’s party-list agenda Topping their agenda is the anti-discrimination bill to protect lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders from prejudice. At the same time, Ladlad expressed alarm over the rising cases of hate crimes against LGBTs, including several brutal murders.

Per its count, 30 LGBTs have been killed on average each year since 2010, all on account of their gender. And, since 1996 till 2012, a total of 163 have been murdered.

“One problem in solving crimes against LGBTs is that more often, their loved ones are scared or ashamed to come forward and say they were targeted on account of their gender. Most would rather say their loved ones were robbed, rather than say they were targeted because they were LGBTs,” said Ladlad’s Marlon Lacsamana.

It’s not surprising thus that the count of LGBTs being slain keeps rising. Just for 2012 alone, one dozen LGBTs have been killed and it’s not even half of the year. The government should address this patter of hate crimes, added Lacsamana.

This is why, Ladlad leaders stressed, the LGBTs deserve a representative in the House of Representatives, where the law allows for party-list slots, “and even in the Senate.”

Aside from the anti-discrimination bill and civil union law, the partylist aimed to implement a pro-poor program among gays and those with disabilities.

It plans to establish Golden Aged Gay, a home for the aged gays; half-way-homes for gays who were disinherited or rejected by their parents because of their sexual orientation.

"Meron po siyang legal, psychological, education and health. Ito po ay more of social development ang sinusulong natin. Sa Saligang Batas po dapat po pantay po lahat," Remoto said.

Ateneo Prof. Remoto said several major political parties have been talking to him about this. "I am now finalizing negotiations with political parties, big well-organized political parties who will help me run in 2013,” Remoto added, but stressed he had no plans of running under the Liberal Party, recalling that he and former labor undersecretary Susan “Toots” Ople, were promised slots in the LP ticket in 2010 by LP stalwart Mar Roxas.

But when Roxas slid down to vice presidential bet with the passing of former President Corazon Aquino, Remoto and Ople found themselves partyless so close to the elections.

The Comelec, this time, is not objecting to Ladlad’s plan to join the Congress race in 2013. In the May 2010 polls, the Comelec had objected to the Ladlad as party-list, but the party won its case in the Supreme Court.

Ladlad was accredited a long time ago. What it did today is file a manifestation of intent to participate, meaning they’re one of the party lists from which voters can pick from,” explained Comelec’s James Jimenez.

Not pushing same-sex marriage

Meanwhile, Ladlad said it was not pushing for same-sex marriage, but only a “civil union partnership.” 

And Ladlad nominee Bemz Benedito had a message “for the likes of Miriam Quiambao and Manny Pacquiao.” He said LGBTs “are not bad people, they are not products of the devil’s lies and they don’t deserve to die because they are also human beings and Filipino citizens.”

InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5, where Danton Remoto is head of Research.

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