Friday, January 27, 2012

Expanded Certiorari Power

Consider the opening provision of Article VIII on the Judiciary in the 1987 PH Constitution:
Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.
Above provision comes as two separate sentences.  The first vests the Judicial Power in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by Law. The second statement appears to be the Constitutional well-spring of the so-called "expanded certiorari power" allegedly vouchsafed to the Judiciary by the 1987 Constitution.

What is most often adduced is that virtually any question involving the Constitution and any instrumentality of the government, can be addressed to the Supreme Court for its Judicial Review and adjudication as the Final Arbiter of the Constitution.  "The Constitution means what the Supreme Court says it means." has become the battlecry of judicial papists who see the Constitution as a secular equivalent of the Catechism to be interpreted by the Supreme Court of wise justices.

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