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Judicial Activism 2

Judicial Activism 2
Ronald Roy — 2012 December 4
It is extremely gratifying that 6 out of 7 of this column’s readers favor my advocacy of “judicial activism” as an imperative answer to two legal enigmas, namely, one: in particular, how to quicken the pace of criminal trial of the most heinous carnage of innocent human beings ever seen in living memory, the Ampatuan massacre, and two: in general, how to beat back the conflagration of crime now rapidly engulfing the nation largely as result of that massacre.
For agreeing with me with virtually nary a modification, I wish to thank Brandon (Joseph), Sheila (Ampil), Dr. Ned (Viray), and readers with cell phone numbers ending in #5010, #2332 and #7446. They all agree that one: felons like those indicted in the infamous Ampatuan case must be presumed guilty until they can prove themselves innocent beyond reasonable doubt, two: this presumption of guilt proceeds from a moral certainty of their guilt, and three: consistent with the thesis that extraordinary conundrums demand extraordinary remedies, the State must protect its citizens with extraordinary measures against extraordinarily egregious criminals.
On the other hand, as a lawyer, I can understand the dissenting reaction from someone who claims to be a “bar topnotcher and Yale University scholar, who topped (his) postgraduate class”—whom we shall call Bright Boy for lack of a name—whose manner of argument, however, beclouds his assertion of intellectual superiority. In fairness to him, though, he may very well belong to the category of those orthodox, classical and traditional lawyers under the retainership of the Ampatuans.
For the record, let me say that I have much admiration for the Ampatuan legalists who defend their clients to the hilt, no matter how guilty they believe their clients to be. I doff my hat to all of them for being true to their lawyer’s oath. Verily, nothing less than a lawyer’s best effort should be exerted even for the most guilty of defendants charged with the most heinous of crimes in the planet.
However, I can only reiterate to my irate dissentient, who condescendingly calls me an “unconstitutional provocateur”—whatever that means, WOW!—that the sort of judicial activism I propose is a remedy that is sanctioned NOT by the Constitution, but by a higher law known as the welfare of the people (salus populi est suprema lex)—the welfare of the people is the supreme law.
The Supreme Court can of course thumb down my thesis anytime by choosing to remain orthodox, classical and traditional, thereby allowing justice to take its toll an eternity from now. Otherwise, it may anchor on the cited Latin adage its espousal of my jugular proposal, and, should it do so, I don’t see how any impeachment complaint (against magistrates) can reach first base at the Lower House, not in the face of what can be expected in the form of overwhelming national support for the Sereno Court’s newfound activism.
It can only be re-stressed that the existing pro-accused criminal justice system should be thoroughly revised with the awareness of time being of the essence. Until then, however, the resort to judicial activism must be initiated asap, preferably with P-Noy playing the lead role by calling the Chief Justice and the Secretary of Justice to a private caucus.
If P-Noy does this, a first conviction in the Ampatuan case will not be farfetched before his term ends—an event that will surely boost the electoral strength of his candidates, as well as whatever he means to leave behind as his legacy.
Bright Boy, an obvious supporter of Pres. Noynoy Aquino, proceeds to denounce me for being “bastos” to the Chief Executive to whom, admittedly, I was rather rude in my previous article titled “Hoy! Kami ang boss mo!!!”. I apologize to P-Noy for this, although my discourtesy was not unprovoked.
It will be recalled that in causing the impeachment and eventual ouster from office of former CJ Renato C. Corona, P-Noy stirringly raised the point that a chief justice does not deserve to stay in office a minute longer if he could not be “independent”, since “proven competence, integrity, probity and independence” are required by no less than the basic charter of all members of the high tribunal. Fine, although, in retrospect, Corona was removed for an unimpeachable offense.
In any event, it will be remembered that Atty. Marvic Leonen, the erstwhile chair of the government negotiating panel that produced the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement (BFA), often said that all salient features of the agreement were either cleared with or personally directed by the President, and that he had never dared to act on the BFA without the latter’s express consent and approval. It remains crystal clear, therefore, that Leonen’s self-demonstrated excessive reliance on the President disqualified him from accepting a nomination for a seat in the august tribunal.
The much graver error, however, was his eventual appointment by P-Noy as a Supreme Court Associate Justice in a brazen display by the President to control the high court. It is thus the bigger picture what is disturbing here: that of the judiciary being made subservient to the Chief Executive through the latter’s abuse of his appointing power!
Finally, Bright Boy challenges me to “hail P-Noy as a great economist” in obvious reference to the 7.1% gross national product growth recorded for the current year’s third quarter. Hmmm… that’s laughable, Bright Boy; so, let me just put it this way: While P-Noy and his economic managers may deserve congratulatory pats on their backs, they will do well to reduce—instead of depending on—the burgeoning number of overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).
The state of affairs of kapit-sa-patalim OFW’s has shrunken us down to an economy of atchoys and atchays serving at the behest of foreign masters! What good are all their foreign exchange remittances, if their marriages are torn asunder, and their children are negligently abandoned to prohibited drugs, cigarette addiction , thievery and other wrongdoings associated with juvenile delinquents?!
Why, it is a hellish scourge that intensifies amidst the “triumphant” clangor of the much heralded economic growth !!
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