President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman on Thursday claimed that the chief executive has always backed same-sex relationships, even before Pope Francis publicly announced being in favor of civil unions.

“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,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a Malacañang briefing.

Because of the Pope’s pronouncements in the documentary “Francesco,” in which he said homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family, Roque said Catholic lawmakers in the Philippines should have no reason to oppose civil unions for same-sex couples.

He added that it was possible for the Philippines to start recognizing same-sex civil unions under Duterte’s term.

“Recognition of civil union has always been supported by the president. 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,” he said.

The Pope said in the documentary: “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”

In a survey conducted in 2018, pollster Social Weather Stations found that 61 percent of adult Filipinos were opposed to the legalization of same-sex civil unions. Only 22 percent expressed support. John Ezekiel J. Hirro