Supreme Court suspends Manila judge over homophobic remarks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 07 2022 02:15 PM

MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday suspended a Manila judge for 30 days for uttering homophobic slurs against 2 of his litigants in court.

An 18-page decision by Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa found Manila Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 26 Presiding Judge Jorge Emmanuel Lorredo liable for his "improper remarks," giving him a 30-day suspension and a fine of P50,000 for sexual harassment, simple misconduct, and conduct unbecoming of a judge, the SC said in a statement.

In 2019, litigants Marcelino Espejon and Erickson Cabonita filed a complaint against Lorredo for showing "bias and partiality" against them and their sexual orientation during a preliminary conference by persistently asking them if they were homosexuals and telling them homosexuality was a "sin."

"Pagka-bading, tomboy, lesbian, ayaw ng Diyos yun... So pag meron kang lesbian relationship, paparusahan yung anak mo. Dengvaxia di ba? [Kayo din] kasi may kasalanan kayo sa Diyos eh," SC quoted Lorredo as saying.

(God doesn't want gays, tomboys, and lesbians.... So if you have a lesbian relationship, your child will be punished. Dengvaxia, right? Well, you have also sinned against God.)

"The Court rules that such remarks constitute homophobic slurs, 'which have no place in our courts of law.' Thus, for issuing the inappropriate statements, respondent judge violated the New Code of Judicial Conduct, which imposes on judges the duty to ensure equal treatment of all before the courts and to understand diversity arising from race, sex religion, age, sexual orientation, and social and economic status, among others," the Supreme Court said in a statement. 

SC also found that Lorredo's remarks were a violation of a resolution from the Civil Service Commission, which classifies sexual harassment as acts that might be reasonably expected to cause discrimination, insecurity, discomfort, offense, or humiliation.

The high court also noted that the suspended judge admitted to have settled 101 cases using the Bible, and allowed his religious beliefs to interfere with his judicial functions.

"As this gave the litigants the impression that the respondent with partiality, the Court held that respondent judge failed to fulfill his duty to not only act with impartiality but to appear impartial at all times," the Supreme Court added.

A full copy of the decision can be read on the Supreme Court website.

—with report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

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