MANILA, Philippines - During a light moment in the senatorial debate at the University of Makati, Sen Gregorio Honasan said his favorite celebrity is gay comedian Vice Ganda, a talent of ABS-CBN network.
Named Jose Marie Borja Viceral, "Vice Ganda" became popular as a stand-up comic before he earned his way to fame as a host of a noontime variety show.
The youngest of 5 children, he has starred in several hit comedies, the latest being "Sisterakas" which won 3rd Best Picture in the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival. He was a student of political science at the Far Eastern University and was a performer in comedy bars even as a teenager.
Honasan's unexpected revelation about Vice Ganda is what probably prompted one student to ask the former soldier if he would support bills to allow same-sex marriage in the Philippines if he were re-elected to the Senate.
"Parang nagda-dalawang isip ako. Kailangan pag-aralan ko pa yan dahil maselan na bagay iyan. Baka maapektuhan ang kasal, yung kasagraduhan ng pamilya, at yung institusyon ng kasal. Maghinay-hinay tayo diyan," Honasan replied. (Personally, I am hesitant. I need to study it because it's a sensitive issue. It might affect the sanctity of marriage and the family as an institution. Le's tread carefully on that one.)
Honasan's view were shared by fellow senatorial bets from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) Zambales Rep Mitos Magsaysay and Vice-Presidential daughter Nancy Binay. They are not inclined to support same-sex marriage but vowed to listen to its proponents before they make up their mind. (Watch the video.)
Honasan explained he does not oppose same-sex relationships. Allowing same-sex marriage is a legal issue, he explained.
"Yung pagsasama, wala akong problema diyan. Pero ang pinag-uusapan dito hindi ang same-sex, gay. Kalayaan natin yan. Ginawa tayo ng Diyos na ganyan. Pero ang legal na kasunduan ang kasal, aba'y pag-aralan nating mabuti iyan. Ang issue dito ay pagkakaisa, productivity, pagsisikap, kapayapaan, national development. Walang kinalaman yan sa sex," he explained.
(I have no issues with same-sex relationships. It's not the issue. They have the freedom [to choose their sexuality]. They were created by God that way. The issue is the legal implications of same-sex marriage. We have to study it. The issue is unity, productivity, industry, peace, and national development. It has nothing to do with sex.)
Peaceful resolution to conflict
During the event organized by radio station DZRH, the former soldier was very passionate about issues concerning the national sovereignty.
First, the sea dispute with China -- while the country is small, the Philippines has a lot of allies in the region against China's aggression.
What he proposes is a peaceful resolution. Honasan said the Philippine government must first determine if the country can benefit from international treaties relating to the sea dispute. If there's none, he proposes joint exploration.
"Tignan natin anong nasa ilalim para matulungan ang ating ekonomiya di lamang ng China, Pilipinas, pati karatig bansa," he said. (Let's look beyond the surface to help our economy -- beyond China, the Philippines, and other neighboring countries.)
Second, he wants to make sure the US government takes responsibility for damage in Tubbataha Reef.
"Sabi nila, kakampi natin sila. Kung ganito kakampi natin, di natin kailangan ng kalaban. Kung may respeto kayo sa amin, hindi kayo magpapabaya. Kung mali ang mapa, hindi namin problema yan," Honasan said. (They said we are allies. If this is what an ally is, we don't need an enemy. If you respect us, you will not be negligent.
Aquino is 8 out of 10
Although they are the rival senatorial slate, Honasan reiterated UNA's support for President Aquino. He gave the Aquino administration a rating of 8 out of 10.
"Hindi pasang-awa pero marami pang gagawin. Wala pang trickling down [of economic progress]. Kailangan makumbinsi ang bayan na umunlad na ang ekonomiya," he explained. (It's beyond passing but more needs to be done. Economic progress still hasn't trickled down. The country has to be convinced that the economy is improving.)
Binay gave Aquino the same rating. Magsaysay gave Aquino 6 out of 10. (READ: Mitos Magsaysay: I follow 'Daang Matuwid')
The president's slogan "Daang Matuwid" is not enough, Honasan added.
"Sabi ng ating Pangulo, 'Daang Matuwid.' Hindi po sapat ang daang matuwid. Dito sa Makati, hindi lamang tuwid ang daan, aspaltado at konkreto. Bawa't kanto may ilaw. Halos bawa't kanto may pulis. May unibersidad. May pagamutan," Honasan said. (The President said, "Daang Matuwid." It's not enough. Here in Makati, the roads are straight, asphalted and made of concrete. Every corner is lit. Almost every corner has a policeman. There's a university. There's a hospital.)
Honasan said he has been in government service for 15 years. - Rappler.com