Marcos Supporter Canceled: Transgender activist Sass Rogando Sasot’s speech—cut short by ‘Church of God’ in Dasmarinas Cavite
On June 2, 2022, the Southern Philippines Institute of Science and Technology (SPIST) rented the Church of God’s (COG) facility in Dasmarinas Cavite for its graduation program. The guest speaker was Sass Roganda Sasot, a popular Marcos apologist, producer at SMNI News, and an open trans activist.
Sass does not reflect the church’s values, so they warned her. Should Sass continue to be the special guest speaker, COG will rescind the use of their facility, and students will be asked to leave.
However, the event was settled, invitations were sent, and students anticipated their graduation, but the notice came a day before.
COG Dasmarinas Cavite face backlash
Sass posted her speech (“What hate can do”) with another parent who ranted. After about an hour, the Facebook page of the Church of God (COG Dasmarinas) was flooded with comments and hateful emojis, forcing them to turn off comments.
Netizens were quick to point out the separation of church and state in this matter, along with accusations of gay discrimination by COG.
Other Christians consider what the church did a dangerous path that translates into a bad testimony.
Resillience and courage
COG allowed the commencement, even with Sass standing at the podium. She commended the school administration for being “resilient” and “courageous.”
“Without courage, I wouldn’t be here today. I was informed last night that some powerful forces threatened your university that you would be able to use this venue if I were the guest speaker,” she said at the beginning of her speech.
The church resisted stopping Sass from talking until halfway through her speech; she began to share her testimony, saying, “At 19, I became a transgender activist….” It was then the speaker, and lights went out.
Sass continued her speech as students cheered and turned on their cellphones to illuminate the auditorium. She was escorted out, and the graduation program was cut short.
Official statement of COG Dasmarinas
According to COG Bishop Anthony Velasco, the church does not allow LGBTQ to perform a special number or as guest speakers. Apparently, COG was not informed that Sasot, who was incidentally a Marcos apologist and trans activist, would be the special guest speaker.
The Bishop also said that he respects the LGBTQ community, but “we really cannot allow our pulpit to be desecrated,” apparently by Sasot’s presence as a speaker.
Partial statement of Sass Rogando Sasot
- There is absolutely nothing in SPIST terms that says it had to approve the speaker.
- On June 1, 2022, through the group chat of COG and SPIST, SPIST sent the program, which has my name as the guest speaker.
- On June 2, 2022 at 5.33PM, COG Dasmariñas secretary asked in the GC “Ano po pangalan ng guest speaker niyo tomorrow?” (What is the name of your guest tomorrow?)
- COG received a copy of the program (with Sasot’s name) on June 1, and it was announced publicly on May 31.
- A pastor in COG Dasmariñas demanded that I would be removed as a speaker because I am LGBT. The pastor was adamant: Change venue (in 12 hours) or change speaker.
- This is not the first time SPIST has rented the venue.
- SPIST firing the speaker because of her gender identity violates the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance of Cavite. You wanted SPIST to violate a province ordinance. They refused.
The Filam Tribune attempted to contact COG for comments, but they did not reply.
“The Church of God doesn’t want me to speak to the graduation of students renting their venue because I am a woman of transgender experience, and I am a BBM supporter. I was double-canceled,” Sass said on her Facebook page.
“COG did not ‘rebuke in love’ but created a bad testimony by showing themselves to be more righteous than Sass,” one netizen said.
Partial official statement of SPIST
The Southern Philippines Institute of Science & Technology posted its official statement on its Facebook page. “What transpired yesterday was beyond our control. We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience it caused…,” according to Dr. Erlinda Manzanero, SPIST President.
- They ruined the solemnity of the graduation rites.
- They dampened the excitement of the graduating class, their parents, and their guardians.
- They tried to top our guest speaker, Ms. Sass Rogando Sassot, to speak to the graduating class for some unlawful reasons.
Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla weighs in
Remulla said, “What a shame!… This is about people who use the shield of their faith to spread hate and bigotry where a church should be about compassion and tolerance…” Like Sasot, Governor Remulla is a BBM supporter.