Sotto raises constitutional question on SOGIE bill

Vicente C. Sotto III

THE PROPOSED Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression (SOGIE), could be considered a “class legislation,” making it unconstitutional, according to Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III. He told reporters on Wednesday that most senators prefer an all-encompassing anti-discrimination act that will cover other sectors. It would be better, he said, “If we will come up with the measure like the version of Senator (Juan Edgardo M.) Angara, which is anti discrimination generally, ‘wag mag-discriminate sa matanda, bata (no discrimination against the elderly, children).” The anti-discrimination bill on the table, he added, is “so concentrated sa (on) LGBTQI+.” Senator Risa N. Hontiveros, chair of the committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, defended that the bill is “hardly unconstitutional.” She said, “In the first place, hindi siya (it is not) class legislation dahil para s’ya sa lahat ng Pilipino, dahil bawat isa sa atin ay may (because it is for all Filipinos, because each of us has a) SOGIE.” The committee will be drafting its report for plenary consideration. Mr. Sotto said he doubts that it will pass plenary given that many are against the bill “the way it’s written now.” — Charmaine A. Tadalan

Bersamin on dismissed same-sex marriage case: Petitioner should have come in ‘proper vehicle’

CHIEF JUSTICE Lucas P. Bersamin on Wednesday explained that the Supreme Court’s dismissal of a petition seeking legalization of same-sex marriage was basically because there was “no case.” In a meet with the media, Mr. Bersamin said when the court junks a petition “out of technicality,” they are simply saying that petitioners should come in the “proper vehicle.” He noted that noted that the high court, in its ruling, did not resolve anything on the substantive issues. “(S)o try to understand that the Supreme Court is not technicality-based, it’s only enforcing its own rules… remember that in the Constitution, we are required only to handle actual cases or controversies,” he said. The chief justice said the petition would have been given more “justiciability” if the petitioner, lawyer Jesus Nicardo M. Falcis III, actually applied for a marriage license in the country. “If he had done that and his application would have been denied, it would have given more justiciability to his case,” Mr. Bersamin said. The decision, written by Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen, cited that Mr. Falcis lacked legal standing, violated the principle of hierarchy of courts and failed to raise an actual controversy. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas