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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Did Anyone Notice

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled adversely against the Palace in three cases, we do not hear much from the Palace mandarins, Charter Change advocates like Sigaw ng Bayan lead convenor, Raul Lambino, and COMELEC Chairman Abalos challenging all anti Charter Change opponents to bring a case before the Supreme Court!

Cat got their tongues? Did the 3 decisions put the fear of God in their hearts?

Let’s hope so and stop this madness!

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Looming Battle

Just today, our favorite Cabinet official, Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez, went to town threatening over the airwaves to file administrative charges against Judge Pozon handling the Subic rape case and Judge Delorinio handling the Batasan 5 case. In addition, he intends, through his subalterns, to ask for the inhibition on the two judges.

For the umpteenth time, I think the Secretary is overreaching himself. And this time, the foe is not just the two judges; the nemesis is the judiciary as an institution.

Time and again, he has shown no respect for the judiciary. During the time that he was Tanodbayan, he was disbarred by the Supreme Court for contemptuous and disrespectful behavior. After regaining his standing in the bar, he was domesticated until he showed his fangs again when he sat at the Congressional canvassing for the votes for the presidential elections. When he became Secretary of Justice, he became worse, and the rest is history, and in fact, still making history.

Now, we are confronted with Sec. Gonzalez questioning the judicial discretion of the two judges, even to the extent of questioning the speed by which Judge Delorino ruled on the Motion to Quash the Amended Information. A judge is damned when justice is delayed but equally cursed if justice is rendered with impressive speed. He should have been pleased that Judge Delorino believes in the maxim “Let justice be done though the heavens fall”.

Perhaps, Secretary Gonzalez is reeling from the three defeats he just received from the Supreme Court, he being the legal adviser to the Executive Department. If anything at all, his counsel to the president and his own pronouncements to media received short shrift from the High Court. As Secretary of Justice, it must be hurting to be perceived by the bench and bar as les incompetent.

That notwithstanding, the judiciary should not take this sitting down. The lower judges should take comfort that their brethren in the Supreme Court have chosen to take the path of righteousness rather than blind obeisance to the appointing power. The lower judges are now in the forefront of the battle for the heart and mind of this country. We see that with a court in Capiz issuing a TRO against COMELEC from verifying the signatures gathered for the People’s Initiative. Now, we see two sterling Metro Manila judges who pay no courtesy to the “presumption of regularity” on the pronouncements of the Palace or the Justice Department.

The battle is now joined in two fronts. First, the Executive confronted the Senate and lost. Now, it intends to cross swords with the Judiciary. If the Executive Department chooses to throw broadsides at the lower court judges, it should be advised to think again. To ask for a removal of a judge without objective proof of bias and accusing them of ignorance of the law because the DOJ lost their case in Makati smacks the DOJ as one big “pikon” and this arrogant stance will not escape the silent but prudent observation from the Supremes. Judge Delorino should be well advised not to inhibit herself to show her contempt from someone who obviously does not respect her intellectual acuity and judicial independence. In fact, she should cite Secretary Gonzalez for Indirect Contempt for bringing dishonor to her court in his media pronouncements.

To besiege the supposedly weakest branch of government is to invite contempt and sanction from the High Court. This government, of all administrations, should remember that it owes its juridical legitimacy to the Supreme Court and specifically, to the present Chief Justice. Like the elephant, the Supremes have a long memory and can undo executive discretion when they choose to do so. The recent 3 debacles of the Executive are but a grim reminder of the power of the Law Lords.

Thus, the Executive Department must seriously reconsider maintaining Justice Secretary Gonzalez in the helm. He continues to be abrasive and tactless when good grace and charm can do the job. And if the president thinks that Secretary Gonzalez can absorb all the anger directed against her, she is dead wrong. He is the vinegar that attracts none of the good, decent and honorable.

With a GMA defender like Secretary Raul Gonzalez, who needs enemies?