Joanne Valles, Jamie Katigbak and Enjie Bonzo’s combined oratory eloquence ousted the five other first year blocks while strongly defending Block B’s six-year winning streak in the annual Sta. Maria Persons Moot Court Cup.
The Sta. Maria Cup is a post-midterms competition where freshman students display their legal research and mooting skills for the title. The champions will get to represent the Ateneo Law School against the winners of the same contest in the Far Eastern University Institute of Law. The competition is named after Dean Melencio and Atty. Amparita Sta. Maria, esteemed professors of Persons and Family Relations Law.
The contest is patterned after traditional moot court competitions where each block organized a team of three, prepared a memorial and argued against each other as applicant or respondent for the given issue. Expert practitioners in the legal arena also served as judges such as Atty. Roland Glenn Tuazon, Atty. Jose Herminio Taylo III and Dean Sta. Maria
For this year, the first year students argued whether or not Article 1 and Article 2 of the Family Code—where marriage is only recognized between a man and a woman—are unconstitutional for violating the equal protection clause.
In their winning submissions, Block B stood as applicants and has successfully pushed for the granting of the petition. The trio edged out Samantha Morales, Joseph Salgado and Wayne Novera of Block A.
Block B contended that the classification between heterosexual and homosexual couples does not rest upon substantial distinctions. Heterosexual couples and same-sex couples are not substantially different because both can fulfill the primary obligations that are required in marriage such as marital obligations, parental obligations, and property relations.
Secondly, Block B asserted that the prohibition of same-same sex marriage is not germane to the purpose of the law. Denying same-sex couples the same rights and privileges given to heterosexual couples, Articles 1 and 2 heteronormatively strengthen the foundation of select families while neglecting the protection of others.
Block B’s last point established that the classification between heterosexual couples and same-sex couples is limited only to conditions existing at the time of its promulgation. The framers of the Family Code, according to the winners, could not have foreseen the eventual sociological evolution that fostered a movement towards the recognition of same-sex marriage.
“I guess it takes a block to win the Sta. Maria Cup. From memorial writing until day of the moot, it was a block effort. We even had b-tips on the day, which served as our reviewer,” Joanne Valles said. She was also awarded the best oralist in the competition.
Paving the way for their finals bout, Block B outscored Block E while Block A polished off Block C. The winning block was likewise in the applicant position during the preliminary rounds.
Valles, Katigbak and Bonzo now eyes the win in their match against FEU this December.