SC Reaffirms Commitment Towards “Equal and Inclusive Justice”
November 25, 2022
Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo poses for posterity with European Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Luc Veron (fifth from right) during the Presentation of the Study on Legal Feminism at the Supreme Court En Banc Session Hall in Ermita, Manila. Also in the photo are (from left) Associate Justice Maria Filomena D. Singh, Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul B. Inting, Associate Justice Amy C. Lazaro-Javier, Senior Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, and members of the European Union delegation Mr. Mario Ranconi, Mr. Christoph Wagner, Ms. Alicia Louro-Peña, and Ms. Maria Terron Puig.
The Supreme Court, through the Committee on Gender Responsiveness in the Judiciary (CGRJ), today reaffirmed its commitment towards ensuring gender sensitivity and fairness as part of the initiatives under the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022- 2027 (SPJI).
During a presentation held on November 25, 2022 at the Supreme Court En Banc Session Hall in Manila, Associate Justice Maria Filomena D. Singh, Co-Chairperson of the CGRJ, presented the results of Legal Feminism Study, which is a fulfillment of the objectives of the SPJI’s third guiding principle “Equal and Inclusive Justice” under the targeted outcome “Access.”
“By uncovering these foundational beliefs and assumptions, the study can hopefully provoke further reflection on and motivate policy and action towards gender-responsive action, in both adjudication and reform action,” said Justice Singh.
In his keynote address, Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo described the Study as “groundbreaking” for three reasons: “it signals the Supreme Court’s genuine commitment to engage in transformative work even if it means allowing a study of its very own decisions to achieve the purpose; it adopts the use of the gender lens in identifying the philosophical trends or themes in our jurisprudence, which is important for a more informed policy direction and reform agenda; and it builds on the findings of the key experts to construct a concrete framework for future action.”
The Chief Justice also conveyed the Court’s gratitude to the European Union (EU) as he acknowledged its support for the Court’s initiatives, particularly in the areas of technology, gender, capacity- building, legal aid, jail decongestion, and ethical responsibility. He expressed hopes that “this partnership will continue to flourish with our mutual respect, industry and determination.”
The Study, which the Court En Banc approved in A.M. No. 22- 02-28-SC (Re: Proposed Study on Legal Feminism in the Philippine Jurisprudence) dated March 1, 2022, was undertaken from February to November 2022 in cooperation with the Justice Sector Reform Programme: Governance in Justice II (GOJUST II) funded by the EU.
The Study involved the categorization of cases into legal themes or categories and focused on four key areas: gender-fair language, marriage and family, LGBTQIA+, and rape (including child sexual abuse). As stated in the SPJI, the Study aims to “look into the courts’ interpretation of gender-responsive laws and its capacity to point out gender-responsive remedies; the awareness of gender biases, gender inequalities, and discrimination as they manifest in decisions (e.g., stereotyping men and women, gender-based violence), and to pronounce corrective statements or measures to overcome the biases, inequalities, and discriminations.” The ultimate goal of the Study is to guide the Judiciary in its future actions towards gender mainstreaming.
Associate Justice Amy C. Lazaro-Javier, former Chairperson of the CGRJ and President of the Philippine Women Judges Association, delivered the opening remarks. Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul B. Inting, CGRJ Co-Chairperson, delivered the closing remarks.
EU Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Luc Véron, on the other hand, reaffirmed the EU’s support to the Court’s initiatives towards women and girls’ access to justice and commended the SPJI.
A private dialogue among the Justices and representatives from the EU followed at the En Banc Conference Room. (Courtesy of the SC Public Information Office)