F. Sionil Jose on LEGAL REFORM.
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It is also true in the Philippines the fact that so many young people aspire to be lawyers because lawyering is the key to the good life. We saw in the televised proceedings how adeptly lawyers go into semantic contortions exemplified by Senator Miriam Santiago, how they buttress their arguments with the finest frills of the law, interpreting these laws in so many obtuse ways that befuddle those of us untrained in legalese! They seem to forget that the foundation of the law, and law making is ethics. It can be as clear as sunrise but can easily be clouded and shrouded by legalese. Here is that hoary question: it may be legal, but is it moral? Our lawyers and judges should always be guided by this primal question.
Aware as we are of the underside of lawyering and the over supply of lawyers, all law schools must close for five years and reopen but a third of the schools and limit their enrollment as well. All those who pass the bar should work as Public Defendersa kind of useful internship before they go into private practise. We should also have a public school for those who aspire to be judges.
It is debatable but Congress should study the feasibility of having justices of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court elected not appointed.
It now goes without saying that reform must be made immediately not just in the Supreme Court but in the entire justice system, which includes the Department of Justice and the National Police. The targets:
Hasten the decision making process; no court case should languish for more than two years. This will mean less money for lawyers but more and swifter justice for the people.
Our educational system must raise more teachers, particularly those in science and technology with an emphasis on the humanities, considering that it is only literature, which teaches us ethics.
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