MANILA - Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza on Tuesday said he was "more inclined" to dismiss a lawyer's petition seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in the Philippines.
Jardeleza made the comment during his interpellation of lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III who sought to declare parts of the Family Code unconstitutional, saying these violate homosexuals' right "to found a family" as protected under the 1987 Constitution.
The high court on Tuesday began oral arguments on same-sex marriage in the country, opening the legal discussion of a taboo in Asia's bastion of Catholicism.
The former solicitor general agreed with Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin's earlier comment that Falcis should have first brought the case before a regional trial court instead of the high court.
"I think you are in grave peril that your case might be dismissed," Jardeleza told Falcis, who described himself in the pleading as "an open and self-identified homosexual.”
"I will be very candid with you, as a graduate of the same school, at this point in time I am more inclined, I think, to dismiss your case," Jardeleza told the petitioner, his fellow University of the Philippines law school alumnus.
The magistrate also told Falcis that he could instead wait for Congress to decide on the legalization of same-sex unions in the country.
Falcis, however, responded that while he could wait given that he is "privileged," other members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community cannot.
"I can wait but your honor I would like to impress upon this court that I am privileged," Falcis said.
Oral arguments on the plea ended after nearly three and a half hours on Tuesday, with the court setting another round on June 26.