Philippine Police Warned Not to Walk Too Gaily

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Police officials in the Philippines were targets for criticism last week for discriminatory comments made by Samuel Pagdilao, chief superintendent and spokesperson for the Philippine National Police.  Pagdilao had warned police that they might be subject to administrative charges for "conduct unbecoming" if they violated certain "rules of conduct."  For example, he said, gay policemen may be fired if they "sway their hips while marching" or "engage in lustful conduct."

The report did not say whether the overly flamboyant marching style of Philippine policemen has caused any serious problems to date, or whether Pagdilao was just thinking out loud, but I suspect the latter.

He tried to back off from those comments on Friday, saying that the PNP "does not have a policy that discriminates against gays and lesbians.  All its policies are issued for everybody regardless of sex or creed."  (Or gender, he probably meant to add, but didn’t.)  But "there are rules of conduct that apply to everybody," he continued, "for which violations may result in administrative charges for conduct unbecoming."

Activists weren’t buying it, though, saying that the comments were discriminatory and only "deepened the stereotype of gay men."  Pagdilao’s remarks "will only force gay policemen back into the closet," said one.  Pagdilao said he thought that was unlikely, since, he told reporters, he had "never heard of any Philippine policeman being gay anyway."  Well, if he hasn’t heard of it, there must not be any.  Case closed.

Link: AFP via Yahoo! News