ELECTIONS 2022: Isko in hot water again for ‘homophobic’ free booking joke

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FILE PHOTO: Manila Mayor Franciso
FILE PHOTO: Manila Mayor Franciso "Isko Moreno" Domagoso (C) dances with performers during a campaign rally on March 31, 2013 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo: NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Controversy dogged Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso yet again after he cracked a joke that, according to LGBTQIA+ groups, came at the community’s expense.

Sa ating mga LGBT, mamaya ireregalo ko sa inyo si Joaquin [his son]. Libre ang booking (To our LGBT guests, Joaquin will be yours tonight. Free booking),” Domagoso said on video during a Butuan City concert rally last April 18. He later defended his joke, saying that he was merely speaking in “street language.”

Southern Tagalog Pride, in an April 20 statement, lambasted Domagoso for painting LGBTQIA+ people as “hypersexual.”

Kasalungat nito, inihahayag nating hindi ‘booking’ ang habol nating mga LGBT ngayong eleksyon bagkus, ang pagtugon sa ating mga kagyat na panawagan gaya ng ligtas na balik-eskwela, tunay na reporma sa lupa, pambansang soberanya, proteksyon sa anumang klase ng pandarahas na nakabatay sa ating kasarian, at iba pa!,” the group exclaimed.

(In contrast to this, we emphasize that us LGBT people are not after ‘bookings’ in this election season. Instead, we call to address demands such as a safe return to face-to-face classes, genuine land reform, national sovereignty, protection from whatever type of threat to our gender, and others!)

Bahaghari Batangas likewise highlighted that Domagoso not only perpetuated a stereotype toward LGBTQIA+ people but also “pimped” his own son.

Ang mga ganitong klaseng biro ay isa sa mga nagiging sanhi ng opresyon na kinahaharap ng mga LGBTQ sa bansa at ang pagpapakita ni Isko ng ganitong pag-uugali ay lalo lamang nagpap[a]alala sa sitwasyon ng karahasan, diskriminasyon, at atake laban sa mga LGBT,” the group fumed.

(These kinds of jokes are just one of the many causes of oppression faced by LGBTQ people in the country, and Isko’s public display of his personality only worsens the situation of violence, discrimination, and attacks against LGBT people.)

This was not the first time criticism hounded Domagoso for allegedly not being as pro-LGBTQIA+ rights as he makes himself to be. Lakapati Laguna blasted “Duterte-lite” Domagoso for being hands-off during the Pride 20 case of 2020, wherein 20 peaceful Pride protestors were violently arrested by Manila police until being released from custody days after.

“This, along with many other instances exposed Domagoso as someone who has never cared about the welfare of Filipino LGBT but is willing to exploit the narrative, identity, and struggles of the sector to advance his political interests,” Lakapati Laguna said.

Groups also called out the painting of the Manila rainbow pedestrian lane (which was painted during Domagoso’s term).

In line with this, Bahaghari Batangas emphasized that “ang pagpipintura ng daanan at pagsusuot ng relo na kulay bahaghari ay hindi namin matatanggap na aksyong pagsuporta sa aming komunidad (the painting of roads and the wearing of rainbow-colored watches are things we cannot accept as support actions for our community).”

Since his infamous call for Vice President Leni Robredo’s withdrawal from the presidential race last Easter Sunday, days have not been kind to the Manila Mayor. Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and ex-Defense Sec. Norberto Gonzalez (who both the April 17 presser) have distanced themselves from Domagoso’s call. Even his running mate Dr. Willy Ong disagreed with him.

Meanwhile, old and current members of Aksyon Demokratiko, Domagoso’s partylist, have also aired their frustrations at the latter.

With the national elections nearing, all three groups vowed to not let Domagoso win the presidential seat.

“We will not allow Moreno or any candidate to degrade the LGBT sector and only look at us through the stereotypical and hypersexualized lenses. We are more than our identities. And in a genuinely democratic Philippines that we want to achieve, there is no place for misogyny, homophobia, and other acts that dehumanize the Filipino people," Lakapati Laguna Founding Chair Lau Reyes concluded.

Reuben Pio Martinez is a news writer who covers stories on various communities and scientific matters. He regularly tunes-in to local happenings. The views expressed are his own.

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