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Press Release - Following heated debates with CHR, Cayetano bats for fair, extensive Senate discussions on abortion and discrimination

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on early Tuesday called on the Senate to further discuss issues such as abortion and the Anti-Discrimination Bill with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) at the committee level.

This after the heated discussions that arose during the plenary debates of the 2024 budget of the Commission on Human Rights, with the tension stemming from the commissions' inconsistent statements on the issues.

Last week, Cayetano slammed CHR for its vague stance on abortion, saying its statement on decriminalizing abortion is in conflict with the 1987 Constitutional mandate to protect the right to life of the mother and the unborn.

"I'd like to pursue this because I really feel that the Philippines should be the champion of pro-life, not only of the unborn but everything about life," he added, on the issue of abortion.

Then on Tuesday morning, senators called out the CHR regarding one of its officials who singled out Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva over his reluctance on the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill.

"I think this deserves more discussion. In the same way that we said here, dapat 'yong pro SOGIE Bill at pro Anti-Discrimination Bill ay makinig sa atin, we should also listen to those who are saying na may right of choice, et cetera," the independent senator said as he addressed the Senate in the wee hours of November 21, 2023.

Cayetano said Senator Francis Tolentino, chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, already agreed to pursue the talks at the committee level.

Questioning provisions in SOGIE bill does not mean anti-LGBT

In detailing the instance concerning the CHR offical and Senator Villanueva on the Anti-Discrimination Bill, Cayetano referred to a video Villanueva showed the chamber. The video showed Atty. Krissi Shaffina Twyla Rubin, OIC of the Center for Gender Equality & Women's Human Rights, speaking on stage during last June's pride month rally in Quezon City indicating that the commission had a petition for Villanueva on the SOGIE bill.

Rubin said in the video, "Mayroon tayong love letter kay Senator Joel Villanueva. At ang ating panawagan po, dear Senator Villanueva, dear