Philippines Urged to Investigate Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes
Filipino LGBT political party Ladlad has called on the Philippine House of Representatives to certify a resolution to investigate anti-LGBT hate crimes in the country.
“The rapid rise of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) Filipinos being killed is very disturbing and this is a clear indication that hate crimes are in reality happening in the country,” said Ms. Bemz Benedito, chairwoman of Ladlad Partylist, in a press release. “We are calling the attention of our good congressmen to investigate and dig deeper into these hate crimes against LGBTs,” she added.
This follows the publication of a study by Philippine Hate Crime Watch which found that a staggering 30 anti-LGBT bias motivated murders have been committed in 2011. To put this in perspective, the group says that with this figure included, it has tracked a total of 160 deaths since 1996.
Ladlad said the brutal killings of LGBT Filipinos are indication that they were victims of hate crime. The chairwoman of Ladlad is also dismayed by the fact that these incidents are categorically labeled as merely robbery by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Last June 13, 2011, actor-director Ricky Rivero was stabbed 17 times after he was robbed by a man he just met through a networking site, Facebook. On the other hand, last week, another member of Ladlad from Quezon Citywas also found dead at Edsa — Kamuning MRT station with 2 stabbed wounds on his chest.
Activists believe that Congress should put in place legislation that explicitly protects LGBTs from bias-motivated crimes and recognizing LGBTs as an at risk “sector.” Earlier calls for such recognition have met with silence.
LGBTs are not expressly criminalized under the country’s penal code, however they may be charged with “grave scandal” offenses for public affection. The Philippines was also one of the United Nations memberstates that refused to sign the United Nations declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity, which condemns violence, harassment and discrimination against LGBTs.