Villanueva halts House hearing on Sogie bills; calls it ‘illegal’ due to forum shopping
MANILA, Philippines — Cibac Rep. Eddie Villanueva has halted the hearing of eight House bills pertaining to anti-discrimination on the basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (Sogie), citing issues on forum shopping.
During the hearing of the Committee on Women and Gender Equality chaired by Bataan 1st district Rep. Geraldine Roman, Villanueva raised issues, of which appropriate committee should handle the hearing of the bills.
Despite Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. France Castro, who took over as chair due to Roman needing to speak about her bill, insisting that the bills’ authors should deliver their sponsorship speeches first, Villanueva pressed to be allowed to speak.
“We just want to state that this hearing, it appears, is illegal. Illegal because this is a clear forum shopping,” he said.
Forum shopping is bringing certain actions to numerous legal courts for a favorable outcome, according to the court ruling General Register No. 159691.
The term forum shopping also does not appear in the House Rules posted on the website of the House of Representatives.
Villanueva, a consistent critic of the Sogie Equality bill, said that the hearing broke house rules as the House Committee on Human Rights had already discussed bills with similar provisions.
However, Roman called Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe to clarify the matter, and told her that the hearing will remain with the Committee on Women and Gender Equality. She chose to continue with the hearing as planned.
This prompted Villanueva to leave the hearing because of “the tyranny of the minority.”
“I just want to put it on record too, that this is not an illegal meeting,” said Roman, adding that the Rules Committee has already given them the clearance.
Despite Castro and Roman both being women, Villanueva still addressed the chair as “Mister Chair,” without specifying who he was referring to.
Roman is the first transwoman lawmaker in the country.
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