Valentine Rosales, one of the respondents in the Christine Dacera case, addressed criticisms after pictures of him and his friends endorsing the chief presidential legal counsel for the elections surfaced on social media.
Screenshots of his Instagram Stories made their way to Reddit Philippines on Tuesday where an online user criticized them for endorsing President Rodrigo Duterte‘s legal counsel in the upcoming national elections as a senatorial bet.
Based on the picture, Rosales was with Rommel Galido, Clark Rapinan, John Reyes Dela Serna and Gregorio de Guzman.
Rosales could also be seen posing beside Panelo with the following text accompanied with emojis of a raised fist and a waving hand: “Secretary Panelo for Senator”
Another screenshot shared on Twitter featured Rosales and his friends wearing black face masks with the name of Panelo on the fabric.
It was also accompanied by a text that endorses the former Duterte spokesperson, along with emojis of a raised fist and a fist bump.
Fist bump is also known as the trademark hand gesture of the president.
Some of those who saw their pictures online condemned Rosales and friends’ endorsement of an official.
Rosales on Instagram shared that it was Panelo who approached their group.
“We went to Sec. Panelo after calling us prior to our hearing earlier for legal advice only. He also shared he is an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and he believes that every individual is entitled to their own equal rights regardless of their gender identity, race, status, educational attainment, etc.,” he wrote.
“He also expressed his thoughts about running for the Senate and we took pictures. We’re not DDS (Diehard Duterte Supporters). We’re not Dilawan either,” Rosales added, referencing a term used to refer to supporters of the opposition Liberal Party.
Some Filipino online users continued to call him out by sharing their arguments on social media.
“What did Panelo do to actually support and advance the causes of Filipino LGBTQIA+ for him to merit your endorsements?” a Twitter user asked in response to Rosales’ post.
“If ally talaga si Panelo eh why hasn’t he pushed the president, being the president’s chief legal counsel, to certify as urgent the SOGIE Equality Bill? Or even push Duterte to legalize same-sex unions?” another online user wondered.
Others reminded Rosales of Panelo’s previous remarks to the LGBTQ+ community.
A Twitter user shared a link to a report where the then-spokesperson said that the LGBTQ+ community should be “glad” for Duterte’s remarks where he said that he had “cured” himself of homosexuality.
At that time, Duterte claimed in a 2019 speech that he used to be gay but that he was “cured” of homosexuality due to his exposure to beautiful women like his partner Honeylet Avanceña.
The American Psychoanalytic Association has already stopped labeling homosexuality as a mental illness or sickness for more than forty-four years ago.
“Sizt, he’s a supporter of Duterte, and that guy, and what he believes in, is not what the LGBTQIA+ community stands for,” another Twitter user wrote in response to Rosales’ pictures.
Rosales previously shared that he was disowned by his Taiwanese father after publicly admitting that he is gay amid allegations that they raped Dacera.
“Nung weekend po, pumunta po ako sa bahay ko kung saan po ako nakatira kasama ko ‘yung dad ko. Ayun, naka-empake na po lahat ng gamit ko, kinuha ko na lang po. Siya na po ang nag-empake. Inutusan po niya ‘yung katulong. Siya na po ang nag-ayos ng gamit ko, kasi ayaw na niya po ako sa bahay,” he said last February.
Rosales, who is the only son in the family, also shared in the interview that he didn’t have the opportunity to open up about his sexuality to his father who he described as someone “strict.”
His father passed away due to stroke last May. He didn’t have the chance to talk to him again after the Dacera case.
Meanwhile, Duterte in his weekly address aired Monday night endorsed Panelo and said that he was his “favorite candidate for senator.”
The chief executive praised his legal counsel for supposedly being strict and disciplined when it comes to work. He also said that he appreciates Panelo’s legal opinions on issues and concerns.
Panelo commented that he is inclined to “walk” and not “run” for the Senate.
Commission on Elections spokesperson James Jimenez earlier said that premature campaigning can only be committed if there is an official candidate.
“In order for premature campaigning to be committed there should be an official candidate, and no official candidate exists right now,” Jimenez said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel last February, addressing complaints of premature campaigning.
“In fact, we are not even filing certificates of candidacy yet. So since there is no official candidate, there can be no crime or should we say offense of premature campaigning,” he added.
The filing of certificates of candidacy is usually held in October prior to the elections.
The next national elections would be held in May 2022. Voter registration ends at the end of September this year.