Mar 28, 2021 @ 12:27

Throwback: Leonen burns Justice Delos Santos in 2019 interview for dismissive remark on transgenders

Associate Justice Edgardo Delos Santos could not have made the cut to the Supreme Court if only this grilling by Justice Marvic Leonen is the basis for such.

Delos Santos, who opted for early retirement from the high court after barely two years on the bench, was once left tongue-tied in his public panel interview as he sought to join the SC in September 2019.

Leonen gave him an academic dressing down after he said that transgender people should still give respect to institutions and comply with the heteronormative standards when dressing up to work in courts, and even in choosing which restrooms to use. If a man who has transitioned to expressing himself as a woman needs to be, the men’s restroom should still be the go-to spot.

The magistrate proved his expertise in interpellations by asking Delos Santos to define SOGIE. While the applicant was able to comply, he found the answer wanting.

“The public requires members of the Supreme Court to be responsible about the premises of their argument and often of course, many of us will say in open deliberation that ‘I am sorry, I am not familiar with the term, let me do some research on it before I state my position,'” Leonen said. He went on to give unsolicited advice to the future Supreme Court justice.

“You did mention there is no case at all where a transgender has been bullied in a male CR,” Leonen said. “When you make a factual premise, wouldn’t it be careless to actually say that you are certain that nobody has been bullied because there are. There have been many, and they have testified both in Congress and in many lower courts.”

“The proposition that sexual characteristic alone is what should distinguish is quite a dangerous one,” he added.

Delos Santos responded to voice support to the SOGIE bill to “recognize the rights” of the LGBT sector, but Leonen is still disappointed.

“You missed my point entirely, Justice. What I’m saying is: would you admit that sometimes, we have factual premises in our standpoints that we need to step back a little, be more open-minded because some of our factual premises might be wrong,” Leonen said, telling Delos Santos that he needs the “ability to be a bit humble enough to be able to check his own premises.”

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