Friday, April 21, 2006

interpretation of laws

While this is already a long since well settled question in countries where there are three independent branches of government—the legislature, the executive department and the judiciary—it would do no harm to ask the question: who has the more immediate and better competence to interpret a law?

It seems that the best interpreter of a law is the legislator himself/herself. This made the law after much study, reflection and resolve. This is wherefore the one who knows the law better and who can wherefore best interpret the law. This appears to be nothing more than the dictate of elementary logic.

The probable impediment to the above rather simple and objective logical conclusion comes from the significance and implications of partisan politics. And this is a reality that is a matter of course in basically democratic countries. Partisan politics can readily make the legislature interpret the law it made not pursuant to its objective text and context—but rather according to politico-partisan concerns.

This is not to counter the importance and necessity of at least a bi-partisan political governance in terms of the administration and the opposition. This practice has relevance to the required standard of politico-ethical checks and balances.

This is neither to counter the industry and capability of the judiciary to interpret the law pursuant to the norms judicial prudence and consequent jurisprudence.

This is just to forward the rather simple and evident truth that in principle, the best interpreter of the law is the one who precisely made the law—the legislator. And thus, the executive department implements the law. The judiciary pronounces on the violations of the law.

All the above notwithstanding, the imperfection of human agents is the reality—the flaw in human structures is the truth. But this is no excuse why socio-political governance should not be attentive to what can make it better in constitution and more effective in service—by having in mind its attributes that can be enhanced and its liabilities that can be lessened.

+O. V. CRUZ, D.D.
21 April 2006