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‘Tokhang’ SC justices, too, Duterte urged

12:01 AM February 14, 2017

This is in reference to Marcelo Garcis’ letter titled “‘Jose Velarde’ resurrects after 15 years?” (Opinion, 1/30/17) where he noted the very long time it took the Supreme Court to resolve a rather simple legal issue. Allow me to quote the Constitution on the matter: “All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission for the Supreme Court…” (Article VIII, Section 15 [1])

“Submission” normally means the time all pleadings are in (e.g., comment on the petition, usually within 10 days) and nothing more is left to be done by the parties. Thus, two years was deemed sufficient to complete the business of resolving any given case. That is the clear sovereign, direct mandate from the people. It was no doubt prompted by the public clamor to address the longstanding grievance against justice being delayed amounting to justice being denied.

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Our class in “statutory construction” taught us that in all decisions of the Supreme Court, the word “must” was always interpreted to mean mandatory—no ifs, ands or buts. To be sure, one need not take up law to understand what that word signifies. Yet, when applied to them, the justices went bizarre and ruled it was meant to be merely directory—or a mere suggestion they can ignore at will. A few years beyond the two-year prescription period may be forgivable, but 15 years (or more, in not a few other cases) is really rubbing it in.

This duplicity is so blatant; but, as our law professor put it, being “supreme” grants the justices the arrogance to make a mockery of the Constitution and to insult the people’s intelligence. Thus, until the highest court of the land sets a good example, speedy delivery of justice will always remain illusory in this country.

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As chief executive, isn’t Du30 duty-bound to ensure respect for the law, more so the Constitution which he has sworn to defend and uphold above all?

Mr. President, paki-“tokhang” (knock and plead) na rin po sa Supreme Court para umayos

naman silang mga justices.

GABRIELLE MICHELLE M. AGUILLERA, [email protected]

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TAGS: Commentary, news, opinion, President Rodrigo Duterte, SC
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