Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Supreme Court of the Philippines

Sad but true, precarious yet obvious, the Supreme Court of the Philippines is in more ways than one, under threat of subjugation specifically by the Executive Department. While the Supreme Court is co-equal in authority with the Executive Department, this however is throwing its weight on the former, having already the Legislative Department under its fiscal command. The Supreme Court is trying to exercise its judicial function independently of the Executive Department particularly regarding two Cases, viz., the contentious Population Control Law and the dubious DAP praxis. Would that the kudos that were heaped on the Supreme Court for its brave and daring yet just and proper decision on the PDAF, keep it standing tall, head high. Meantime, it will be good even but to read and appreciate the following three categorical constitutional provisions relative to the Supreme Court of the Philippines:

(1) The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.” (Phil. Constitution, Art. VII, Sec. 1)

In judicial matters, no entity in the Philippine government has authority over the one and only Supreme Court – neither Congress nor the Senate, not even the pretentious MalacaƱang.

(2) The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Appropriations for the judiciary may not be reduced by the Legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year and after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released.” (Idem, Art. VIII, Sec. 3)

The fiscal autonomy of the Judiciary is intended to protect it from the power of the purse of the Legislative Department. This is precisely because the three branches of government are co-equal in authority or power.

(3) “A member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence.” (Ibidem, Sec. 7, no. 3)

It is not simply impressive but also expected that to be a member of the Judiciary; there are no less than four requirements. First, the candidate must already gave a proven competence especially in the handling, understanding, and resolution if judicial issues. Second, the same candidate must have demonstrated integrity or rectitude in his/her personal disposition and pursuant actuation. Third, the said candidate should be known for his/her probity or honesty in handling agenda, in resolving questions. Fourth, the same candidate, too, should have established his/her independence or self-autonomy decision making.

Meantime, the candidate for the Office of the President is required but to know how to read and write – plus other minor and incidental prerequisites. How pitiful! How licentious!