Philippines: The Family Wins the First Round

September 13, 2019

After the rejection of the Supreme Court of the Philippines to legalize same-sex civil unions, the archipelago’s Bishops’ Conference welcomed the decision of the high-court magistrates. They estimate that it is likely to “strengthen the stability of the family.”

The Filipino prelates do not hide their relief: Jesus Falcis, a young 33-year-old lawyer, had filed in May 2015 an appeal on the alleged unconstitutionality of Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code, defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The highest court in the country has taken its time. It reviewed the appeal in June 2018, three years after it was filed, and then rejected it on September 3, 2019, by a unanimous vote of the fifteen judges.

Bishop Ruperto Santos, Bishop of Balanga and President of the Philippine Bishops’ Conference immediately responded: “Our magistrates have declared what is right by reaffirming the natural and ethical form of marriage.” The rejection of the appeal “reinforces the sanctity of marriage and the stability of the family in the Philippines.”

Several other bishops of the archipelago also intervened: Bishop Arturo Bastes, Bishop of Sorsogon, described the appeal as “immoral” and praised the Supreme Court for defending “the true nature of marriage.”

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, described the Court’s decision as “a favorable development for the country.”

But the chapter is far from closed and the bishops must remain vigilant. In fact, through its decision, the Supreme Court evaded the fundamental issue, since it rejected the appeal in the name of a “lack of argument,” even suggesting that the issue raised by Jesus Falcis be examined by Congress.

A battle has been won, but it may only be a first round. Other fights remain to be carried out in order to preserve the family from the attacks of immorality.