Bersamin: Junked Falcis plea has no bearing on future same-sex marriage petitions
Kristine Joy Patag ( - September 4, 2019 - 1:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court unanimously shot down the petition for same-sex marriage, but Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin stressed Wednesday that this does not set a precedent on similar petitions in the future.

In the SC's Chief Justice Meets the Press event, Bersamin said that the ruling that junking Falcis' petion challenging provisions of the Family Code "did not resolve anything about same-sex marriage."

"The opinions expressed there, which were several, will not be controlling. We cannot call anything from that a precedent," the chief justice explained in a mix of English and Filipino.

SC junks Falcis petition

On Tuesday, the SC unanimously voted to junk the petition challenging parts of the Family Code that specify that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

The SC recognized that the Constitution, “from its plain text... does not define, restrict, marriage on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.”

READ: Supreme Court thumbs down same-sex marriage petition

But the high court junked the plea as it ruled that Falcis lacked standing, violated the principle of hierarchy of courts and failed to raise an actual, justiciable controversy.

The SC, through the ruling penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, said that it recognized the history of discrimination and marginalization faced by the LGBTQ+ community but noted that the recognition of same-sex marriage “for now, be a matter that should be addressed to Congress.”

‘There is no case’

Bersamin explained that the SC ruled to dismiss the petition “because there is no case.”

The chief justice said the fact that Falcis challenged the decades-old Family Code is not an issue in the case.

“No matter how old this law, there is still an opportunity for the Court to examine the constitutionality based on the current Constitution,” the chief justice added.

During the oral arguments held June 19, the magistrates stressed that Falcis cannot claim “injury” that the Family Code provisions deprive same-sex couples of the right to marry since he was never denied that right.

He has, justices pointed out, not applied for a marriage license.

READ: Justices ask: Where is 'actual case' in Falcis' same-sex marriage petition?

Bersamin, who was then an associate justice, said: “What we need is an actual case and controversy and that requires an adverse party, and yet you say nothing has been denied to you by the respondent, so where would this adverseness come from?”

As the court ruled on the petition, the tribunal also held Falcis, and his fellow petitioners, lawyers Darwin Angeles, Keisha Trina Guangko and Christopher Ryan Maranan for indirect contempt.

In citing the same-sex marriage petitioners in contempt, the SC explained that "[t]o forget [the bare rudiments of court procedure and decorum] – or worse, to purport to know them, but really, only to exploit them by way of propaganda – and then, to jump headlong into the taxing endeavor of constitutional litigation is a contemptuous betrayal of the high standards of the legal profession."

The high court, in its decision, explained that judicial adjudication or the legal process of deciding a case entails "issues propelled by actual controversies."

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