Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Garci is a Test of the Supreme Court's Independence

Supreme Court Public Info Officer, ISHMAEL KAHN has a PDI Commentary today disputing the recent statement of former Justice Isagani Cruz, who recently wrote in his own PDI opinion column that, "Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has so far never lost a case before the highest tribunal and it is not unlikely that her record will remain unbroken." Kahn writes--
This statement is inaccurate, to put it mildly. In fact, the Supreme Court ruled that Fernando Poe Jr. was a natural-born citizen, thus enabling him to run against her. Just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court ordered the government to pay more than P3 billion to Piatco before it could take over the spanking new Naia 3 airport terminal. On the Mining Act decision, Justices Antonio Carpio, Conchita Carpio-Morales and Romeo Callejo Sr. -- all Arroyo appointees -- dissented from the majority who upheld its constitutionality. So did Justices Renato Corona, Adolfo Azcuna, Dante Tinga and Cancio Garcia who partially dissented on the more recent 2005 expanded value-added tax law. All this just goes to show that Supreme Court justices are their own men and women, beholden to no one, as they have always been since the time that Justice Cruz himself sat on the Court when its entire membership owed their appointment to President Cory Aquino.
Unfortunately for everyone the past record of the Supreme Court does not bespeak of Independence of the Judiciary, being marred by a number of horrendous failures. For example, in 1973 there was the infamous Javellana Decision essentially blessing Marcos's martial law coup d'etat. Then in 2001, the decisions Estrada vs. Arroyo and Estrada vs. Desierto, similarly blessed the Edsa II judicial coup d'etat. Accepting for now that these things are "water under the bridge," we may be consoled by the notion that no decision of the Supreme Court is actually final, since a future Court may reverse any past decision. (Note for example that the US Supreme Court engaged in over a century of pro-slavery decision making, before the arrival of Abe Lincoln changed it all.)

In that sense, the best attribute of a Supreme Court is its CORRIGIBILITY. Every new Supreme Court has the historic opportunity to inspire the people with Decisions that ring true in their hearts, that right old wrongs, or demonstrate that Justice can be secured through its wisdom and impartiality.

A TEST OF THE SUPREME COURT'S INDEPENDENCE presents itself in the Second Petition of Virgilio Garcillano. Recall that this particular fugitive from Justice emerged from some as yet unknown hiding hole last November. His most significant act to me has been the filing of two petitions with the Supreme Court. The First Garci Petition has already been dismissed (it was moot anyway, having to do with his arrest warrant on contempt of Congress, already voided or not exercised). But look at the Prayer of the Second Garci Peitition in the Supreme Court:
THE PRAYER WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed that this Honorable Court issue a Resolution:

(a) ordering the immediate issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction restraining and preventing the House of Representatives Committees on Public Information, Public Order and Safety, National Defense and Security, Information Communications Technology, and Suffrage and Electoral Reforms from making use of the sound recording of the illegally obtained wiretapped conversations in their Report for the inquiries conducted relative thereto, or from otherwise making use of said recordings for any purspose; and,

(b) Granting the issuance of a Writ of Prohibition by commanding the Respondent Committees to strike off the record of the proceedings any and all references to the illegally obtained wiretapped recordings, and to desist from further using the sound recordings of the illegally obtained wiretapped conversations in any of its proceedings.

Other reliefs, just and equitable under the premises are likewise prayed for.

SIGNED (22 November 2005) EDDIE U. TAMONDONG (Counsel for Petitioner) and VIRGILIO O. GARCILLANO (Petitioner)
I think the burial of the Garci Recordings is essential to killing the Second Impeachment Complaint at midyear. Here is a case that matters a lot to the Palace -- else why did Garci emerge from hiding to file these cases with the Supreme Court? Certainly with no expectation of losing. This should be a good test of who is right or wrong--Isagani Cruz or Ishmael Kahn.


Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

The truth about the matter is that Hilario Davide believes that he and the Davide Supreme Court has done right by God and the Pilipino people in "restoring Zion" by swearing-in Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Acting President upon an unsuspecting Nation.

He believes that it was not only moral but legal. He turns a blind eye or completely ignores the majority belief right now that EDSA-2 was wrong both morally and legally.

But you are right DJB, the judgement of history and a future morally&legally-upright Supreme Court will be harsh against Davide and his BERKS.

God bless you and your Blog!

Rizalist said...

thanks BFR. But it turns out the Davide story isn't quite finished yet, even by his lights. He's been appointed Presidential Adviser on Electoral Reform. As long as there is life there is hope. I don't want to portray him as an evil and hopeless man, though I've been really hard on Davide. Like most of us, he is merely FLAWED.

Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

It is simply a matter of expediency. Gloria needs Davide and Davide needs Gloria. They will join hands in trying to prevent the morrow from dawning upon our hapless land. But this is immaterial, because the JUDGEMENT of the Pilipino is already out. Gloria is GUILTY.

The Blog brigade of Malacanang said that we should bring our evidence to the courts or to Congress. But as far we are concerned this part is past and done. The Court of the people is not hindered by all the technicalities and the power of the appointing power. It is only concerned to giving the truth and only the truth to come out. Garci you have been tried by the people and found Guilty.

Ka Bunye at Kuya Mike Defensor, you are so obvious (halatang-halata) in your damage control and PR blitz in trying to enhance the image of a FALLING & FAILING President. Malapit nang SUMUBI ang bayan. At kung hindi ninyo alam ang ibig sabihin ng subi ay hindi kayo Pilipino sapagkat hindi kayo marunong magsungka.

Rizalist said...

BFR--I'm getting mad and frustrated over the whole situation too. As I think anyone who pays attention to it even a lil bit soon experiences. Personally, I think it's a powder keg right now. The President at some point needs to confront her ego with the stranger she ignores: her conscience. I don't think it's too late to avert disaster. But boy it's getting awful close.