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Two wrongs don’t make a right

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I do not only understand but also have tremendous sympathy for those who feel that judicial reform, starting with the Supreme Court, is long overdue.

The reader may recall that two months ago, in a speech before the Philippine Judges Association, Chief Justice Renato Corona launched a diatribe against the Executive and Legislative branches, accusing them of  “so much disrespect and lack of civility” in their treatment of the Judiciary (read: the Supreme Court) and for their attempts to undermine its independence.

I wrote in this column that respect had to be earned, not demanded, and that the Corona Court in its existence thus far seemed to have embarked on a respect-obliterating, public trust-violating course.

I cited five of the Corona Court’s decisions  (one cannot call the decision upholding Corona’s midnight appointment as a Corona Court decision) to bolster my point: one was the case involving former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, where the Court, apparently even without most members reading her petition, issued a status quo ante order to stop proceedings on her impeachment; the second was the plagiarism case against Justice Mariano del Castillo, where the Corona Court, disregarding all documentary evidence (compiled by another justice, no less, who was then subjected to disrespect and incivility by her peers) to the contrary, declared that Del Castillo did not plagiarize—and had to redefine plagiarism in order to justify its decision.

The third had to do with the accusation of Lauro Vizconde that Justice Antonio Carpio had lobbied among his colleagues for the acquittal of Hubert Webb, with Vizconde citing Corona as his source. The Court passed a resolution absolving Carpio of the accusation, but, significantly, made no mention about Corona’s possible culpability in the matter.

The fourth had to do with its original decision on the Hacienda Luisita case (just recently reversed), where the farmworker-beneficiaries were still given the option to choose the stock distribution option plan, which it had revoked.

And the fifth was its truly mindboggling flip-flop—recalling, within less than a month, its decision (with finality)—on the case of PAL’s flight attendants and stewards.

Personally, I believe that the Court would be better off without say, Corona (who, in my opinion, has no sense of delicadeza, but that isn’t an impeachable offense) and at least one other justice who, I am morally certain, is as corrupt as they come. But moral certitude can and should never be a substitute for hard evidence.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prove that the above-mentioned decisions can be attributed solely to Corona. And yet that is exactly what the impeachment charges against Corona, lodged by 188 members of the House of Representatives, seem to imply.

Even more unfortunately, in the rush to impeach Corona, both the House of Representatives and the Executive branch have committed exactly the same offenses that they find Corona (more accurately, the Corona Court) guilty of.

Item: The Corona Court is accused of a rush to judgment in its issuance of the status quo ante order in the Gutierrez case, and for that matter, in its issuance of a TRO on the GMA travel ban. What do we call the House’s rush to judgment in the impeachment of Corona, or for that matter, the Comelec’s (under the Executive’s orders), rush in filing charges against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regarding her so-called electoral sabotage?

In the Corona impeachment charges, the members met in caucus in the early afternoon. Rep. Niel Tupas says he gave a PowerPoint presentation of the eight articles of impeachment, and when two House members wanted to ask questions, they were essentially overwhelmed by the other members’ desire to just sign the complaint. So 188 members had signed by early evening.

But here’s the rub (as pointed out by a legal beagle friend whose name is available on request): complainants are by law required to sign an affidavit to the effect that “I have read the contents thereof and the facts stated therein are true and correct according to the best of my knowledge and /or on the basis of documents and records in my possession.” In other words, the congressmen shouldn’t have signed if they had not read the 57-page document.

The same thing can be said of the Comelec commissioners who signed the formal charges without reading the complete documents: a rush to judgment, based on the fear that GMA would “escape,” totally ignoring the fact that since the beginning of P-Noy’s term, she had left the Philippines seven times and returned seven times.

Item: Then there are the charges of bias or partiality shown by Corona/the Corona Court in favor of GMA. What does one call the arrest and detention of GMA for electoral sabotage based on the single testimony of the most dubious of witnesses?

Item: Corona/the Corona Court is charged with not submitting the required statements of assets, liabilities and net worth. Aside from the fact that the policy of the Court on not releasing the SALNs of the justices is a policy that was in effect before Corona’s time, there is also the reality that, as the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism’s Malou Mangahas has reported, the biggest non-implementors of the release rule are the Office of the President and the Office of the Ombudsman.

In effect, the pots are calling the kettles black. Or, more relevantly, one cannot solve a problem by creating an even greater problem. Two wrongs can never make a right.


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Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=19299

  • RonaBacay

    KASAMA YAN SA MARCHING ORDER NI COJUANCO OLD MAN to PNOY
       1st    188 Congressman impeachment  X Milliones = Billiones
       2nd    PNOY lobby to Senate, pero di nya kaya to pressure them
       3rd     Drilon to replace Enrile as Senate President, to ensure Corona convection
                Ng MABUKING, joke lang daw!!! Oh no! naging joker pa kayo!!
       4th   and final assault PNOY to appoint FIRM-CARPIO as CJ

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IR72XWTLXR4CMXQHNKGW6JZ7GE Brench Duke

      PNOY WILL DO EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING UNDER THE SUN TO HAVE THE SUPREME COURT RULING IN HIS FAMILY’S FAVOR. COJUANGCOS ARE LEECHES IN THIS COUNTRY.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IR72XWTLXR4CMXQHNKGW6JZ7GE Brench Duke

    PNOY IS ENGAGING IN DOULE-TALKS. HE IS HITLER IN THE MAKING. BEWARE!

  • mrs2

    Good observation Mam Winnie, but I guess the judicial commit greater offense, as they are mostly lawyers, but that is no excuse to the executive and legislative.

    Keep up your sharing your enlightening opinions.

    Thank you.

  • Thadeo Thadeo

    Don’t be so rash in condemning Winnie.  She ‘s saying that the impeachment of Corona is wrong (to right another wrong).  She’s objective and her views are balanced, not one sided, unlike Conrad de Quiroz and Billie Esposo.  She ‘s of the opinion that the arrest warrant against GMAwas rairoaded as well as Corona’s impeachment.  She may not like GMA but she is no PNoy admirer.  Check it out.

    • saanino nino

      I agree. The piece is objective and balanced. Monsod laid down the facts and did not impose her opinion on the readers. I am quite “bitin” though. If in her opinion, the rushed actions are wrong, how then should the executive have acted in the face of  Arroyo’s haste to leave the country? How else could they have prevented her departure? Although I agree that these moves by the administration are wrong, I find myself (and I’m sure others as ignorant of the law as I am) stuck and without alternative. If it’s wrong, then what is right and as effective in such situations. I wished Monsod as well as other columnists who share such views could tackle that.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KFB6BNPMEZS6F2JDTV5PF652IU Rodolfo

        In issuing the TRO against the watchlist order, the Supreme Court only upheld every Filipino’s constitutional right to travel if there is no Hold Departure Order from the court against him/her. The executive should have done the filing of the charges months before so as to secure a Hold Departure Order against Gloria. Hindi naman umalis sila Gloria pagbaba niya bilang Presidente. In fact, as Winnie Monsod said in the above article, she left the country 7 times and returned 7 times too. Tapos, nagmamadali sila nang pagfile ng charges na nagawa nila in two or three days ba yon? Kaya naman pala,a. Bakit pinaabot pa nila nang ganun – na magkasakit si Gloria at magkaron nang dahilan na umalis ulit? But I am sure maraming loopholes yung charge ng electoral sabotage na yan. Ma-a-acquit si Gloria niya. Tapos, iiyak-iyak na nman ang mga Noynoy fanatics. Sasabihin, bias talaga ang judiciary when in truth and in fact the judiciary just acts on what is given to it. Kung walang ebidensiya, walang conviction. Ganun lang yun kasimple.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5GRTCH676OFEK7ELOJBBA6EMCE Bonifacio Aquino

    I MORE THAN CONCUR WITH WINNIE…BUT IN THE OTHER PERSPECTIVE…HINDI LANG DALAWA O TATLO O APAT ANG “KAPALPAKAN” NANG NAGAWA NG PENOY ADMIN A AND TO THINK ABOUT IT, FIRST TWO YEARS PALANG SYA SA PUWESTO…”HINDI NYA MAITUTUWID ANG BALUKTOT NA DAAN SA HINDI MATUWID NA PAMAMARAAN”!  

    • joeldcndcn

      pare, huwag mong kalimutan, arrested na ‘yon ulo ng OCTOPUS,  kaya lang nasa suite ng VMMC, he,he,he? at na-impeached na ‘yong illegally sitting “cheap” justice corona, itinutuwid kahit papaano ‘yon mga balultot, tsk, tsk, tsk!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KFB6BNPMEZS6F2JDTV5PF652IU Rodolfo

        paano maitutuwid kung baluktot ang pamamaraan? yung pagmamadali nila ng file ng charges na basta na lang, ma-a-acquit pa niyan si Gloria. at si Chief Justice Corona will stay as Chief Justice because it is obvious that the grounds relied upon will not call for impeachment. ha ha ha ha!

  • joeldcndcn

    MR CORONA HAS NO EXCUSE OF ALL THE DISHONESTY & ILLEGAL APPOINTMENT HE ACCEPTED KNOWINGLY & WILLFULLY VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION;  ANY EXCUSES IN NEVER ACCEPTABLE TO AN HONEST & LAW ABIDING FILIPINO, THOUGH SOME IDIOTS WON’T MIND THE “TRAMPLING DOWN” OF THE CONSTITUTION BY THIS “CHEAP” JUSTICE OF THE SC OF THE PHILIPPINES, TSK, TSK, TSK!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KFB6BNPMEZS6F2JDTV5PF652IU Rodolfo

      Yung hindi nakakaintindi ng Constitution at ng Supreme  Court decisions and processes ang idiots! Idiot!

  • AlzheimersC

    Winnie doesn’t want Pnoy to succeed overwhelmingly so that when the next presidential election come, Pnoy’s annointed candidate would not be overwhelmingly voted by the people and Winnie’s  own candidate would have a better chance of snaring the presidential seat instead…!

    I wonder who he is???

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KFB6BNPMEZS6F2JDTV5PF652IU Rodolfo

      Why is it that when somebody makes an objective and balance analysis of things, the Noynoy fanatics will always say that there is an ulterior motive in not siding with Noynoy’s opinion? Mga Abnoynoys, mag-isip isip naman at timbang timbangin ang mga opinyon ng mga nag-iisip kung wala kayo nun. Pagdududahan kaagad na merong mang-aagaw ng presidential seat. Ano ba yan?! Wala na bang argumentong mas gaganda pa diyan? ha ha ha ha!

      • AlzheimersC

        It will not happen in Pnoy’s term but in the next presidential election…hindi pang-aagaw ang tukoy ko engot kundi ang paghanap na ng kapalit ni Pnoy after completing his term…iyan ang inaantay o nakasaad sa mga plano ni Winnie…sa sarili kong palagay!

        Winnie is supporting another candidate but they had no chance against GMA before because of her dubious clout/support from various groups…so in order to defeat/remove/replace her in office…they support Pnoy during his candidacy to assure his win…

        Now that Pnoy won and he had no plan of keeping the post with any extra means  after his term…the presidential seat is up for grabs for any aspiring candidates who can be able to impress the public till the election hours…! The only problem left for these candidates including the one Winnie is giving her all out support would be the advantage of the annointed candidate of Pnoy if he would succeed in his programs to satisfy the public with his performance…

        THIS IS WHAT WINNIE IS PREVENTING TO HAPPEN…SHE WOULD NOT LET THE POPULARITY/SUCCESS OF PNOY TO RUB OFF TO HIS SUCCESSOR DURING THE ELECTION TIME…

        IF THERE WILL BE ANOTHER PRESIDENT, IT SHOULD BE WINNIE’S OWN CANDIDATE!

        chiz? OR vnay?

  • Ignacio150

    A principle in ethics state that when in a dilemma choose the lesser evil.  Who do you think is the lesser evil P-Noy or the Rule of Law?



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