Kakampi Mo Ang Batas
Atty. Batas Mauricio
“…Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free…” –Ephesians 6:7-8
The country may be aware of what was behind the heated (and often fiery) exchanges last Tuesday during the quo warranto case against Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal Sereno in Baguio City.
For clarification, in reference to the basic qualifications an individual must possess before being appointed and allowed to serve as a justice of the tribunal, according to Article VIII, Section 7(1) of the 1987 Constitution: “No person shall be appointed Member of the Supreme Court or any lower collegiate court unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.”
“A Member of the Supreme Court must be at least forty years of age and must have been, for fifteen years or more, a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines,” the section goes on to say.
On the other hand, under Article VIII, Section 7(3), says members of the Supreme Court must possess “proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence.”
With the recent fiery hearings, Filipinos were treated to an extraordinary, amazing, and unprecedented opportunity to witness how Supreme Court justices deliberate cases. In the past, these deliberations were held exclusively behind closed doors – in utmost secrecy.
It was akin to a street brawl, complete with insults and scathing language. This prompted many to ask me: did this rare display from the tribunal not diminish the integrity of the court and erode the character of the justices? From where I sat, I believe it did not!
The truth is I expected this kind of a skirmish among the magistrates. To me, it was natural and fitting that such a bombastic and emotional exchange occurred between them – especially surrounding a cases involving one of their own. What they showed on Tuesday proved, beyond reasonable doubt, there is freedom of intellectual discourse in the courts and only the most studied and appropriate views and positions reign.
Majority decision will still prevail before the SC
No matter how good or sound an argument is delivered by various justices, no matter how well they conveyed their position, the final decision will still be made by a majority. What I mean is, no matter what direction the discussion may have taken, they still have vote to determine the final position of the court.
A position, in any given case, supported by 50 percent plus one among the justices will be recognized as the judgment of the court, which becomes law of the land and is expected to be obeyed by everyone in the country once judgment is promulgated. This is what we should all wait for in the Sereno case, the voting result.
What is my fearless forecast? Whatever the final result, I can truthfully say, without any fear of contradiction, the true beneficiaries of this episode in our history would be the Filipino people since many legal issues were resolved with the case surrounding the chief justice.
If anyone would like to ask me questions about the burning issues of the day, what we have discussed here, or to consult on a problem, please call 0917-984-2468, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your concerns at facebook.com/attybatas. Promise, I will answer right away. Thank God in the Name of Jesus, Amen!/WDJ