President Rodrigo R. Duterte (File image)

Malacañang on Thursday reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s support for the recognition of civil union of same-sex couples in the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time as pontiff in a feature-length documentary “Francesco,” which premiered at the Rome Film Festival this week.

“The President has said it over and over again, pabor po siya sa isang batas na magri-recognize ng civil union sa mga parehong same sex relationships (he is favor of a law that will recognize civil union of same sex relationships). Recognition of civil union has always been supported by the President,” Roque said in a Palace presser.

Roque said “conservative” Catholic lawmakers would no longer have a basis to oppose the passage of civil union laws following Pope Francis’ stance on the contentious issue.

“Depende na lang iyan sa prayoridad ng ating Kongreso. Pero with no less than the Pope supporting it, I think even the most conservative of all Catholics in Congress should no longer have a basis for objecting,” Roque said.

In the documentary, Pope Francis was quoted as saying “homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God.”

“You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered,” the pontiff said.

Prelates want confirmation

Meanwhile, local Catholic prelates said they would like to watch the documentary film, if indeed Pope Francis expressed support to same-sex civil union.

“It is just a documentary film, so not official and should be verified. Being a film, there could be insertion or edited, or just for propaganda so that it could be talked about or patronize,” Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos said in a statement.

Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon said he would like to read first an official statement of the Vatican regarding the Pope’s remarks.

“I withhold my take on this because we have not received any official statement from the Vatican about this. As it happened in the past, his words are often misinterpreted by the media,” he said.

Meanwhile, Novaliches Bishop emeritus Teodoro Bacani would also like to see “the context of his remarks and when he made them and to what he was referring.”

Sorsogon Bishop emeritus Arturo Bastes said Pope’s statement is contrary to divine law.

“For me this is a shocking statement coming from a Pope. In my opinion this is contrary to divine law which explicitly permits only the union of man and woman or of opposite sexes of male or female, whatever that union is: civil, legal or sacramental,” he said.

(With reports of Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)