Sotto laments different interpretations of what the Pope said

Published October 29, 2020, 7:04 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Vicente Sotto III hit back at his critics for their “wrong” interpretation of Pope Francis’ recent pronouncements about homosexuals.

Sen. Vicente Sotto III (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Sotto said Wednesday that he was not playing expert over the Pope when he commented about his reported endorsement of civil union for same-sex couples. Instead, he believed that the pontiff’s statement was misinterpreted.

“Dapat doon sila ang ibash (They are the ones who should be bashed). Hindi pala nila naintindihan, at saka ang Spanish ni Papa, ang Spanish ni Pope was actually Argentinian (They did not really understand it, and the Spanish of the Pope was actually Argentinian). Ngayon, ‘yong taga New York na nag-interpret, mali ang translation niya, tapos nilagyan na kaagad ng ibang interpretasyon, kagat naman kaagad dito sa atin (Now, someone from New York interpreted it, but made the wrong translation and we easily believed it),” the senator said during the online Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

“Akala nila, ako ang mali (They thought I was mistaken). Hindi, akala nila pinapakialaman ko ‘yong mas magaling pa ako sa Papa, hindi. (They thought I was meddling and playing expert than the Pope, no). Sabi ko lang mali ang intindi ninyo (I was just saying that they misuderstood it). Mali ang intindi nila, obviously (They misinterpreted it, obviously),” he added.

The Pope was earlier quoted as saying that homosexuals have a right to be in a family and should be protected by civil union laws, remarks that surprised Catholic prelates and conservatives amid the Church’s long-standing position against same-sex relationships. 

But Sotto said “the Pope never mentioned same sex” and that he only meant that homosexuals should not be shunned by their families.

“Ang sinabi niya (What he said was) homosexuals. And it’s true. Hindi porke homosexual ay aalisin ninyo sa pamilya, kasi nangyayari dito sa atin yan, ‘di ba (Just because you are a homosexual you will excluded from the family, because it happens here, right)? Anak nila ino-ostracize, hindi dapat talaga (They ostracize their children, which should not be the case). ‘Yon yung point niya (That was his point),” he pointed out.

The Senate chief also clarified that he was not blocking measures pushing same-sex union even as he believed that the Pope’s remarks will not sway lawmakers into passing it.

“That is my opinion. Bakit pinakikialaman ninyo yung opinion ko (Why are meddling with my opinion)?” Sotto said.  

Transgender lawmaker Bataan Representative Geraldine Roman earlier hit Sotto for seemingly being “more popish than the Pope”. She said lawmakers should not look into the religious implication of the civil union, but the legal protection for same-sex partners.