Saturday, February 4, 2017

Entrapment of the Supreme Court. - The Court must be shielded from partisan politics.

Many years ago, during the term of Gloria Arroyo, when Malacanang announced its plan to establish a Joint Executive-Judicial Advisory Council ostensibly to improve the Justice System, I wrote the then Chief Justice R. Puno to express my view that the idea was inadvisable and inappropriate for being UNCONSTITUTIONAL because it would, in effect, compromise the INDEPENDENCE of the Judiciary in case of future suits that may filed before the Court by any citizen questioning the constitutionality of laws, programs, appropriations, administrative rules and regulations, and other activities that the two branches of government might jointly adopt under the auspices of the said council.

The idea was abandoned, although there was an attempt to cure the constitutional issues by appointing the Court Administrator (not a Justice) to represent the Court in the said joint advisory council.

At this time, the same old unconstitutional idea is being explored by Malacanang and Senate President K. Pimentel. This time the three branches of government would form the council

I assume they are aware of the potential constitutional conflicts involved in their plan.

I look at the idea as a shrewd attempt by Duterte to entrap and co-opt Court to his side at this early time to protect him and his regime from future cases arising from his controversial acts and decisions, such as, but not necessarily limited to, the deadly, brutal and unconstitutional "war on drugs" which has so far killed more than 7,000 "suspects" within six months since he assumed office.

I hope the Court would be intelligent enough to see the machiavellian motive behind the Duterte plan and that it would refuse to be made a co-conspirator of Duterte to railroad his self-serving future political plans, particularly the overhaul of the Constitution (federalism, constitutional dictatorship, lifting of election term limits, diluting the martial law provisions, etc.).

As to the need for coordination among the three branches of the government to improve the justice system in terms of financial and administrative support, the same can be achieved by insuring that continuing working dialogues are held among the Court Administrator, the Secretary of Justice, and the chairs of the Committees on Justice of the two houses of Congress for the said purpose.

The Filipino people should not allow any attempt by Duterte and his partisans in Congress to violate the Constitution and endanger the image of the Judiciary as an independent branch of government. The Court must be shielded from partisan politics, 

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said this week that officials of the executive branch and Congress have discussed the revival of the Legislative Executive Judiciary Development Advisory Council (Lejdac), which convenes the three branches of…