SC Launches Campaign to End Violence Against Women

November 5, 2021

Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy C. Lazaro-Javier delivers her message as Chairperson of the Court’s Committee on Gender Responsiveness in the Judiciary earlier today at the Supreme Court grounds during the kick-off activity of the Judiciary’s Campaign to End Violence Against Women. With her are (seated from left) Justice Japar B. Dimaampao, Justice Henri Jean Paul B. Inting, Justice Rosmari D. Carandang, and Senior Associate Justice and Acting Chief Justice Estela M. Perlas Bernabe.

Forging ahead with its commitment to ensure an environment in Philippine courts that is gender-fair and gender-inclusive, the Supreme Court of the Philippines formally launched today its 18-day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) in the Judiciary with its initial activity entitled “One Billion Rising,” held at the Supreme Court New Compound grounds.

Speaking as the Chairperson of the Supreme Court’s Committee on Gender Responsiveness in the Judiciary (CGRJ), Justice Amy C. Lazaro- Javier emphasized that the Court’s campaign “carries the theme ‘VAW- free community starts with me.’”

“The theme enjoins everyone to pursue the common vision of a community free from violence against women and girls,” said Justice Lazaro-Javier, adding that “One Billion Rising” is the biggest mass action in the world to end gender-based violence against women, whether cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities.

“According to reputable studies and statistics, one out of three women and girls across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That’s one billion women and girls. Once a  year,  the  advocates, believers, and supporters in countries across the world, including the Philippines collectively rise to show our local communities and the world what one billion looks like and to focus their attention to the rampant impunity and injustice that victims and survivors most often face,” expressed Justice Lazaro-Javier.

Justice Lazaro-Javier mentioned the measures being undertaken by the Court, through the CGRJ, with respect to gender-fair language and gender-fair etiquette.

“The Supreme Court has adopted not once but twice, recently through Memorandum Circular No. 90-2021 dated September 24, 2021 issued by Chief Justice [Alexander G.] Gesmundo, the Civil Service Commission guidelines, among others, on the use of gender fair language in issuances, decisions, orders, and communications in the Judiciary,” said Justice Lazaro-Javier. She added that the Court, through the CGRJ, “is in the process of updating the rules on the Committee on Decorum and Investigation of Sexual Harassment; and drafting a policy on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sex Characteristics for the Judiciary that is well-suited, tactful, and receptive, and responsive to society’s changing attitudes of gender.”

In his message, Chief Justice Gesmundo said that as “Equal Access to Justice Real Time” is one of the four Target Outcomes of his Strategic Plan as Chief Justice, “a gender fair and inclusive judiciary is a must.”

Underscoring the Court’s commitment to taking an even more aggressive stance against every form of abuse and discrimination against women, the Chief Justice revealed that the CGRJ will submit to the Court En Banc this November “the first ever organic Guidelines on the Use of Gender Fair Language and Courtroom Etiquette for the Judiciary. This will be followed by an active tri-media campaign against all forms of gender based discrimination, harassment and abuse.”

“You can all rest assured that gender equality and equity will be front and center during my term. Women and men are inherently different but the fundamental law of the land and the higher moral law mandate equality and equity in all human relations. It is our solemn oath to ensure that every human being counts,” said the Chief Justice.

In his welcome remarks as Vice Chairperson of the CGRJ, Justice Henri Jean Paul B. Inting said that the Judiciary’s unwavering enthusiasm and commitment to the task of ending VAW largely depend on the depth of everyone’s conviction, reason, and purpose therefor.

“My suggested rallying point is this: #webelongtoeachother,” expressed Justice Inting, adding that he used a “hashtag” in delivering his message to emphasize the need to teach and pass on this universal truth in a timely way to every generation.”

“We need to remind or teach #webelongtoeachother, not as a fact to be memorized, but as a truth that ought to be lived out every single day, if we are to end-VAW or any form of violence for that matter,” Justice Inting said. “An interior transformation of the heart and mind is needed. This Campaign to end-VAW is geared towards that.”
Also present during the event were Justice Rosmari D. Carandang and Justice Japar B. Dimaampao, with Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen and Mario V. Lopez joining them online via the Zoom platform. Other Supreme Court officials, members of the CGRJ, and employees were also present during the event. All pertinent health and safety protocols were strictly observed. ###