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Ah Basta!

Submitted by on Friday, 11 March 2016, 10:27 AM | Blog | English
Categories: Non-Erotic   Tags: , ,

I love the law. Ever since I was a little boy, when asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I always said I wanted to be a lawyer. And I had kept on that path until I reached my goal.

What about the law I love the most? It is the settlement of differing wants where both parties agree to a common result. Chief amongst this is the framework where such conflict resolution is done. In this system, both parties acquiesce as to its result out of due respect to the rule of law.

Unfortunately, this system I had sworn to uphold has been violated. The institution whose main duty is to interpret the law was the party that violated it. Yes, I am talking about the latest decision of the Supreme Court on its decision as to the candidacy of Grace Poe.

In law school, I was taught by both CJ Sereno and AJ Leonen that the Constitution is the fundamental law of the land. It is the basis of all laws. Decisions based on other laws and governmental actions must comply with its basic precepts. Those were the basics.  This decision though threw all those lessons away.

  1. A decision by a court, any court must provide the basis and explanation. Never in the history of Philippine jurisprudence that a decision was first announced before the explanation was ever made public. Even the monumental Javellana vs Exec Sec, the decision that validated Martial Law, had the explanation made public alongside the decision.
  2. There are no qualifications as to the words of the Constitution on the petition presented before it. In this case, citizenship requirements are clear. Qualifications for elective offices, especially the highest in the land, are clear and unequivocal. The candidate must have all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications.
  3. There must be recourse under law. The continued failure to provide the explanation to the losing party is a violation of their rights to due process. They do not have a basis for appeal, or the filing of a motion for reconsideration, yet the ramifications of their plea moves forward.  The petitioners do not know the why and wherefore of the Supreme Court’s decision.
  4. This serves a precedent with chilling effect on the rule of law. Now, a decision by any court can be made without the basis on such decision. If the highest court of the land did it, why can’t lesser courts follow suit?

I am sad and disappointed. Like a child being told, after being scolded, “Ah basta!”

This isn’t about simple things like jaywalking or traffic violations. This involves the highest court in the land, with the most learned of...


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