He’s straight, but being gay is OK.
That’s what former solicitor general and senatorial candidate Florin “Pilo” Hilbay said today after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that he is gay.
In a post on his Twitter account, Hilbay tagged his girlfriend, actress Agot Isidro, and wrote in a mix of English and Filipino: “President Duterte accused me of being gay, and of using @agot_isidro as [a] beard. I wasn’t informed that he was working on the side as a street gossip monger. You seem to have a lot of free time, sir? And to use sexuality as an insult? He’s no LGBTQIA ally, cyst.”
President Duterte accused me of being gay, and of using @agot_isidro as beard. Hindi ako na-inform na sumasideline pala siyang chismoso sa kanto. Daming free time, ser?
— Pilo Hilbay (@fthilbay) April 17, 2019
Hilbay attached a statement to his tweet, where he said that there is nothing wrong with being a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
He said in the statement: “Unlike the president, Agot and I don’t see being a member of the LGBTQIA community as a mistake or a source of shame.”
He added: “If Duterte is a real LGBTQIA ally, he would know that coming out is the most personal and momentous decision an LGBTQIA person could make. His display of bigotry is the reason why people choose to hide in the shadows, living in fear, instead of accepting their personal truth.”
The candidate was reacting to Duterte’s speech delivered in a campaign rally in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan yesterday where he declared that Hilbay is gay.
“This Hilbay, this son of a b*tch Hilbay. He did nothing when he was a solicitor general. He assigned so many gay men to his office,” Duterte said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Speaking directly to the crowd, Duterte said: “You gay people who refuse to come out, I ask you, based on his mannerisms, the way he walks… is he a man or a woman? Only gay men can answer that.”
“Hilbay, his girlfriend is Agot Isidro. Her boyfriend is gay.”
In his statement which was also shared on his Facebook account, Hilbay said he’s not sure if many of his former staff members at the office of the solicitor general were gay because their intellectual capacity was more important for him. He said the lawyers he worked with courageously fought for the Philippines’ sovereignty.
“In the past three years, this administration has not measured up to our team’s bravery and loyalty to our sovereignty,” Hilbay said.
Hilbay, along with other government officials, was responsible for winning the Philippines’ case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands in 2016. The court ruled in favor of the Philipines and said that China has no legal basis to claim its historic rights over the disputed West Philippine Sea.
Duterte has repeatedly refused to enforce the ruling.
The former solicitor general ended his statement by saying that he and Isidro shouldn’t be used by the president to hide his incompetence and the alleged lies and wrongdoings of his family and supporters.
A recent Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism’s (PCIJ) report shows that President Duterte’s wealth increased dramatically from 1998 to 2017. The same report showed the net worth of his children, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and Paolo Duterte, increasing substantially from 2007 to 2017.
Duterte vowed that he would retaliate against the PCIJ.