Q&A on the game-changing SC cases
My column last Sunday (“Five game-changing SC decisions”) drew interesting questions from readers, as follows:
Q1. Who voted, 6-4, in the notorious Javellana v. Executive Secretary? A. The votes were counted in the ponencia of then CJ Roberto Concepcion, as follows: “ACCORDINGLY, by virtue of the majority of six (6) votes of Justices Makalintal, Castro, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra with the four (4) dissenting votes of the Chief Justice and Justices Zaldivar, Fernando and Teehankee, all the aforementioned cases are hereby dismissed. This being the vote of the majority, there is no further judicial obstacle to the new Constitution being considered in force and effect.”
Q2. Why did the Court allow the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani? A. To sum up, the ponente, Justice (later CJ) Diosdado M. Peralta wrote, “President Duterte’s decision to have the remains of Marcos interred in the LNMB involves a political question that is not a justiciable controversy… [Petitioners] had no locus standi… failed to exhaust administrative remedies… [and] failed to observe the hierarchy of courts.” Moreover, “President Duterte’s order did not contravene the Constitution, local laws and international human rights laws.” It was “not whimsical or capricious or arbitrary made out of malice, ill-will or personal bias.” Concurring were JJs Velasco, Leonardo-De Castro, Brion, Bersamin, Del Castillo, Perez, Mendoza, and Perlas-Bernabe. Dissenting were CJ Sereno and JJs Carpio, Leonen, Jardeleza and Caguioa. J Reyes, no part.
Q3. Did the petitioners file a motion for reconsideration in Lambino v. Comelec? Who voted pro and contra? A. The petitioners filed an MR but the Court, by the same vote of 8-7, denied it with finality on Nov. 21, 2006. The decision was written by J Antonio T. Carpio concurred in by CJ Panganiban and JJs Santiago, Gutierrez, Austria-Martinez, Carpio Morales, Callejo and Azcuna. The main dissenter was J Reynato S. Puno joined by JJs Quisumbing, Corona, Tinga, Chico-Nazario, Garcia and Velasco.
Q4. What has happened to President Duterte’s desire to abolish the party-list? A. In “Party-list, quo vadis?” (02/07/21), I wrote that President Duterte wanted the party-list abolished but Senate President Tito Sotto instead filed a bill to empower the Comelec to refuse or cancel the registration of a party-list. However, to this day, I have not heard of any progress in those two proposals. Recently, lawyer Romulo Macalintal proffered another solution: Ask the SC to reverse its decisions that opened the party-list to the rich and powerful and that compelled the election of 20 percent of the House with party-listers. I replied that he, as a seasoned election lawyer, could initiate the solution.
Q5. What are the chances of reinstating QW-ousted Sereno, or at least, granting her retirement benefits? A. To my knowledge, no petition has been filed to reinstate her or to grant her retirement benefits. However, former ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales texted me that Sereno should be considered a “de facto Justice to be granted the same benefits given to Corona.”
Q.6 Many readers wonder why I cited only five decisions when there are many more that are equally game-changing. Example: former ombudsman and solicitor-general Simeon Marcelo emailed quite lengthily, “… [like] the Marcos cases, I think you should have included the Decision where the coconut levy funds were declared to be prima facie public funds promulgated in December 2001; if I am not mistaken, you were even the ponente. After suffering numerous legal debacles, it was the first legal victory for the ‘poorest of the poor’ small coconut farmers. Though a much greater amount could have been collected, the amount of P70 billion was later collected and placed in a trust fund… Unfortunately, despite the promulgation of your momentous Decision, the small coconut farmers failed up to now to benefit from the coco levy funds and to this day, the protracted war continues…”
My good friend, retired CJ Hilario G. Davide Jr., inquired why I did not include the “constructive resignation” ouster of Joseph Estrada. Other friends ask why not the one “outlawing the pork barrel in its various forms?” etc.
A. My short answer: I did not, and still do not, have sufficient space to take them up in one column. But, thank you, readers for your questions. In the future, I hope to answer them, directly or indirectly.
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