‘Tunay na bakla?’: Imee Marcos pro-LGBT efforts resurface after support for Pemberton pardon

September 8, 2020 - 1:19 PM
Imee Marcos waving at crowds
In this February 12, 2019 photo, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos attends the campaign launch of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago coalition in San Fernando, Pampanga. (The STAR/Michael Varcas)

Sen. Imee Marcos‘s previous remarks that supposedly support the LGBT community resurfaced after she welcomed the pardon granted to the US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton.

Pemberton was convicted of homicide for killing transwoman Jennifer Laude in 2014.

Last week, Olongapo City Regional Trial Court’s Branch 74, Pemberton ordered the release o Pemberton, citing that he should walk free for good behavior.

The Palace last week said Pemberton will remain in prison while the Laude’s lawyer seeks to overturn a court ruling granting Pemberton an early release.

READ: Philippine court to hear appeal against early release of US Marine convicted of killing Jennifer Laude

However, in a surprise decision on September 7, President Rodrigo Duterte granted absolute pardon to Pemberton, therefore clearing him of all charges and restoring his civil rights.

Calls for justice for Laude with tweets protesting Pemberton’s release immediately dominated Twitterverse on Monday evening.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who also represented the Laude family six years ago, said Duterte is not required to provide a reason for the grant.

READ: Twitter explodes with calls for justice for Laude after grant of pardon to Pemberton

Why Filipinos are condemning Marcos

In a message to reporters, neophyte Marcos welcomed the decision of Duterte and said that Filipinos should thank the president for the pardon because he finally laid the Pemberton-Laude case to rest.

“The Philippines took jurisdiction over the case as mandated by the Visiting Forces Agreement. Justice has been served with the Philippine judicial system functioning in accordance with its constitutional duties,” Marcos said.

“The role of the president in issuing a pardon is to prevent any future discordant issues that opposition politicians would try to exploit. The president has laid the issue to rest and we thank him for it,” she added.

These remarks fueled angry sentiments in the local Twitterverse where some Filipinos recalled Marcos’ previous support for the rights of the LGBTQ community in the country.

They also shared screenshots of Marcos’ previous posts expressing her support to the sector and news items that reported the pro-LGBT bill she filed in 2019.

Marcos and her stance on LGBT rights

The LGBT community was among the sectors the former Ilocos Norte governor courted for her Senate bid ahead of the midterm elections last year.

In January 2019, Marcos publicized her attendance to a Pride March event in San Juan City. She also issued a statement that showed empathy to their struggles in the society.

“Dapat intindihin natin na ang gay rights ay hindi lamang para sa ating mga LGBT. Gay rights are in every way human rights as well. Kailangang kilalanin ang pagkakaiba ng bawat isa. Iba’t iba tayo,” then senatorial candidate said.

“Today, we continue to see a great deal of discrimination, a great deal of difficulty in hiring, in labor practices and…

Posted by Senator Imee R. Marcos on Wednesday, January 23, 2019


During one of her campaign sorties in February of that year, Marcos also branded herself as “tunay na bakla” in front of the members of the Gay Alliance for Len Alonte (GALA), a gay group supportive of Rep. Marlyn ‘Len” Alonte (Biñan City).

“Kering-keri po iyan. Sa lahat ng mga nag-gagala sa buong daigdig. Maglagay ng tunay na bakla sa Senado. Ako na po iyon. kering-keri po iyan. Maraming salamat,” Marcos said.

Months after she became a senator, Marcos filed her version of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill, sponsored by Sen. Risa Hontiveros.

That time, Marcos explained her proposed measure seeks to protect the members of the LGBT community from discrimination and uphold their rights.

“We know gay rights are human rights. It’s important that an anti-discrimination bill be passed,” she said in July last year.

However, during a weekly press forum, Marcos clarified that she excluded legalizing same-sex marriage in her bill.

“I think masyado siyang komplikado. Hindi mo kasi maihahambing yung union sa konsepto ng marriage na nasa Saligang-Batas,” she said.

In August of that year, Marcos also showed support to another transwoman Gretchen Diez who made headlines after she decried alleged harassment at a mall in Quezon City.

Gretchen Diez, the transwoman who figured in a viral video at a Quezon City mall, paid a courtesy call on Senator Imee…

Posted by Senator Imee R. Marcos on Wednesday, August 14, 2019