Screengrab from CNN Philippines' forum "The Filipino Votes: How do the senatorial candidates stand on key issues?"

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Enrile sings new tune on same-sex unions

Read this fact check in Filipino

From saying same-sex unions are “unnatural,” former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who has mounted a senatorial comeback at 94, now says he’s cool with them.


At the Dec. 2 CNN Philippines senatorial forum, Enrile and other candidates were asked to raise a “yes” or “no” signboard to show their stand on key issues.

They were asked:

“Are you in favor of granting same-sex couples legal rights and status under the current civil union bill?”

Source: CNN Philippines, The Filipino Votes: How do the senatorial candidates stand on key issues?, Dec. 2, 2018, watch from 1:44:57 to 1:45:15

Enrile’s response: “Yes.”


Enrile in 2016 rejected the idea of same-sex unions.

Backing then senatorial aspirant Manny Pacquiao’s comment that those in same-sex relationships are “worse than animals,” Enrile was quoted in several news reports as saying:

“I will not make it that strong, but that is unnatural.”

Sources: GMA News Online, Manila Bulletin, Manila Standard

He also told same-sex marriage backers to go to Mars:

Tama si Pacquiao. Kung ipipilit ng mga LGBT groups ang same-sex marriage, mainam pa na pumunta sila sa planetang Mars (Pacquiao is right. If LGBT groups insist on same-sex marriage, they better go to the planet Mars).”

Sources: ABS-CBN News, Interaksyon, GMA News Online

Enrile, accused of plunder for his alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund or “pork barrel” scam, was released on bail in 2015 for humanitarian reasons.


ABS-CBN News, Enrile: Same-sex marriage backers should go to Mars, Feb. 17, 2016

GMA News Online, Enrile to Pacquiao’s LGBT critics: Better go to Mars, Feb. 17, 2016

Interaksyon, Kakampi ni Pacman | Enrile backs Pacquiao, says those who want same-sex marriage can go to Mars, Feb. 17, 2016

Manila Standard, Pacquiao defended over same sex gaffe, Feb. 18, 2016

Manila Bulletin, ‘Go to Mars,’ Enrile tells those in same-sex relationship, Feb. 18, 2016

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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