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The way things are taking shape, Napolesgate, which began in the court of public opinion, will come home to roost in the courts of law. The Filipino fascination with law as almost a secular religion is perplexing, since the Supreme Court itself twice validated pork barrel in the past.
We have resoundingly spoken against pork barrel, and yet our leaders still seem hell-bent on lavishing largesse upon themselves. Are we totally helpless? Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno says we are not. We hold the power of “direct initiative” to bypass Congress and abolish pork on our own. Puno’s proposal is fraught with hope, but likewise risks disappointment.
By Artemio V. Panganiban
As one of the 10 holders of the “Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity,” Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno began his lecture with two questions: Is justice an imported Western concept? Do we have a native Filipino concept of justice?
By Oliver P. Cachapero Jr.
In one of my hearings before the Municipal Trial Court, while waiting for my case to be heard, I witnessed how the judge handled a theft case. It was unfortunate for the accused. By then, the courtroom was packed with people—the judge, court employees, prosecution team, private lawyers including myself, the accused and their victims [...]
During his inaugural address, President Aquino asked if we the citizens had ever waited patiently in traffic for several hours only to be brushed aside by officials of an uncaring government. He promised no more of that.
By Randy David
During certain periods, crime acquires a high visibility, the result usually of diligent reporting by the mass media. “Moral panic” sets in, putting pressure on the police and the courts to show that justice is not asleep. Thus, for a while, the public may be treated to a flurry of arrests and a surge of decisions meting out harsh penalties to convicted offenders. In such ways do societies seek to restore the authority of the law.
Last February, to much fanfare on the part of Congress and Malacañang, President Aquino signed into law a bill authorizing compensation of P10 billion (about $230 million) to victims of human-rights abuses by the Marcos dictatorship.
By Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
Since 1987 the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has struggled with the question of whether it should allow two or only one member of Congress to sit in the body. Last month a divided Supreme Court finally ordered the JBC: You can have only one member of Congress. How much of a difference will that make?
By Conrado de Quiros
Last year, at about this time, close to a thousand law students passed the bar and became lawyers. At the time they did, we were in the thick of the impeachment of Renato Corona. The goings-on in the Senate-turned-impeachment court, in particular the penchant of the lawyers there, current or ex, to obsess on procedure rather than substance, to impress with an ability to quote chapter and verse rather than with a capacity to quest for justice, impelled me to write a column giving a piece of unsolicited advice to the new lawyers.
This refers to the articles titled “Ati Leader in Boracay gunned down” (Inquirer, 2/24/13) and “Dexter Condez: A voice of courage for Ati folk” (Inquirer, 3/2/13).
By Amando Doronila
Since the killing of 13 people at a police-military checkpoint in Atimonan, Quezon, on Jan. 6, not a single day has passed without the media reporting a rising tide of robberies and break-ins into shops and homes in Metro Manila. In the Atimonan carnage, the National Bureau of Investigation has determined that the victims died not as a result of a shootout between the police-military team and a criminal group, but, rather, an extralegal execution by state law enforcement authorities.