However, my reading of the Supreme Court TRO shows no attribution of grave abuse on the Senate. Indeed, Justice Arturo D. Brion’s concurring opinion stressed that the TRO was issued merely to prevent possible irreparable damage if the subpoena is implemented pending the final decision.
Hence, the Senate majority decided to respect the TRO, not because it agreed with the Court, but because it wanted to avoid an unnecessary collision of wills. Precisely, the Senate will argue during the Supreme Court hearing why it (the Senate) did not gravely abuse its discretion.
In sum, the Court issued the TRO only as a precautionary measure to prevent the case from becoming academic by a premature revelation of the dollar deposits. In turn, the Senate agreed to respect the TRO only to be able to show its prudence and carefulness in issuing its subpoena.
In the past, even if it had earlier issued a TRO, the Court – after hearing respondents –allowed the restrained act to proceed. This was done in the recent case of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, in which the TRO (or Status Quo Order) was lifted after the House of Representatives proved its right to impeach her. Of course, there was delay. But this can be minimized by speedier action on the present case.
In a much larger context, I view these tedious incidents, like the impeachment trial, the subpoena, the TRO and the Senate response to the TRO, as essential parts of the maturing processes of our democracy. In fine, I hope these incidents will lead to what Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle calls “a culture of integrity” in our country.