House Chief, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr,. expressed his uncertainty as to whether as Anti-Hate Crime Bill would be passed in the 16th Congress.
Belmonte said that the Lower Chamber may not have the time to attend to the proposal which deals with the rampancy of hate-motivated crimes against vulnerable sectors, specifically those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
“I don’t know if we have time for it. We have many legislative priorities,” he said via a text message to reporters.
The 290-person Lower Chamber of Congress currently has its hands full with the House Committee on Justice’s report discarding the three impeachment complaints against President Aquino, the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 or economic Charter change (Cha-cha) and House Bill 3587 or an Act Prohibiting the Establishment of Political Dynasties.
Several lawmakers, however, have expressed their support of the bill proposed by Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon, seeking to protect the LGBT community from hate-crimes.
NARS party-list Rep. Leah Paquiz and Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan expressed their full support of the proposal, pointing out that other vulnerable sectors of society – among these, indigenous people groups and persons with disabilities – need protection, as well.
The proposal – House Resolution No. 1625; or the Anti-Hate Crime Bill, authored primarily by Ridon – was filed on October 29 by the Makabayan bloc.
The seven-member bloc explained that the resolution will serve as a foundation for the creation of a law to protect vulnerable sectors from hate crimes or criminal offenses done based on actual or perceived prejudice over an individual’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, or ethnicity.
“It is timely and of utmost necessity that the State, through Congress, enact and enforce anti-hate crime laws for the protection of vulnerable sectors and to determine criminal liabilities of offenders,” the Makabayan members stressed.