Fred Ruiz Castro, then Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, wrote the following Preface to SCRA 50 (March-April 1973)
PREFACEIn his famous essay, the Path of the Law, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes defined the Law as a prediction of what the Court will do.
The prediction is based on precedents. The governing principle, which has given consistency and stability to the Law is Stare decisis et non queta movere. [Follow past precedent and do not disturb what has been settled.]
The officials enforcing statutory law and regulations, the lawyers and litigants seeking to know the law in concrete controverted cases, and the judges in adversary litigations, should b e well posted on precedents.
The Supreme Court Reports Annotated as a repository of the latest precedents formulated by the highest court of the land, serves the purpose of keeping lawyers, judges and law-enforcing agencies duly informed on the rec ent accretions to the corpus of our jurisprudence.
The copious notes and annotations to the reported cases as well as the cross references to past relevant rulings will lighten the researcher's tedious task of looking for authorities.
I wish to congratulate the Central Lawbook Publishing Co. for having undertaken this useful Publication.
FRED RUIZ CASTRO
How ironic, that the Decision, Javellana v. The Executive Secretary, in the perfect 2020 of historical hindsight, in fact disobeyed all past moral and judicial precedent and casuistically disturbed many long settled tenets of democracy, freedom, truth and justice. No greater indictment of the Philippine Supreme Court's past perfidious performance, no greater blot on its juridical record as having touched one nadir, no more sinister omen of its likely future actions and decisions, exists, than this despicable surrender to fascism and dictatorship in 1973.
But don't just take it from me...
GURU OF DESTABILIZATION Father Joaquin Bernas, S.J., noted consitutionalist and a literal forefather of the 1987 Constitution, whom Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez has recently accused of being the Guru of Destabilization in the Philippines, recently wrote in the Philippine Daily Inquirer --
The Supreme Court As Legitimizing Agent (PDI) ... Thus it is that, in the history of our nation, there have been instances when the Supreme Court has legitimized official action offensive to human rights and disruptive of constitutionalism. Hence, as we await the decision of the current Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the gag rule in Executive Order 464, and of Proclamation 1017 and the various official actions it occasioned, as well as the uses of BP 880, it might be salutary to review how our Supreme Court has sometimes, to our national regret, played around with sacred constitutional principles...a majority of the Supreme Court were of the view that the Constitution proposed by the 1971 Constitutional Convention was not ratified in accordance with the requirements of the 1935 Constitution. In the end, however the Court accepted the cryptic conclusion that the new Constitution was already in effect....We are again at a crucial moment in our history when the Supreme Court is challenged to make decisions that can either weaken or strengthen constitutionalism in the Philippines. Meanwhile, the executive arm has been behaving as if martial law had been declared. Every official act so far done, unless contradicted by the Court, will continue to enjoy the presumption of legitimacy.AN ETERNAL PRINCIPLE is to be found in Fr. Bernas essay where he says that "the Supreme Court has legitimized official action offensive to human rights and disruptive of constitutionalism." For he could not openly have said and published such a characterization of Javellana in 1973.
That he CAN, is a point of great, if cold, consolation to us today.
That he DOES, is a sign of how far things have gone, once more, in the wrong direction.
Thirty-three years after Javellana, it may be the very template being assiduously studied yet creatively applied, to the service of a new autocrat in Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, just as once it was put in the service of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The same elements are there with new ones: a President at bay, charter change, plebiscites, martial law, barangay assemblies and Supreme Court decisions. Javellana is actually hard and painful to read, as every paragraph reads like the morning news, as indeed we seem to be REPEATING the history we've just forgotten -- at an even lower cycle in the helix spiralling down to the ranks of the unfree countries.
Reading Javellana today also sheds old light on the Executive's present actions and suggests a sinister new element to the present-day Palace moves: the Executive is being coached by a legal mind that has complete knowledge of these precedents and is anticipating the legal and judicial road ahead, by shaping the Executive's orders, decrees and actions toward a goal of mutual survival.
Justice Castro, quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes says that the Law is a PREDICTION of what the Court will do. And so it is! Reading Javellana explains a lot about what Malacanang Palace has been, is, and will be trying to do.
PASS YOUR PAPER TIME: But it seems to me that all the Edsa 2 Chickens are coming home to roost -- right where they were hatched in January, 2001! Panganiban's procrastination on all these cases of transcendental importance can last only for so long before the delay turns scandalous -- like a rotting fish head in the noon day sun at Padre Faura. It's almost Pass-Your-Paper-Time for Artemio Panganiban and that mysterious company of men and women that DARE to call themselves today's Supreme Court.
The vast audience of history awaits to JUDGE them.
Only the Aristocracy Cares About the Eternal Principles
Davide Supreme Court Legitimized Military Mutiny For Regime Change