High court’s flip-flop not Fasap case is main issue
This is in reaction to the news item titled “SC recalls final ruling on PAL cabin layoffs.” (Inquirer, 10/11/11)
What does the word “final” mean to the Supreme Court? Does “final” have a different meaning and interpretation in the Philippine justice system?
The recent instances in which the Supreme Court recalled “final judgments” strengthen public perceptions that there must be something wrong with our justice system. How come a mere letter, which is not even accompanied by evidence, can move the highest court of the land to reverse its decision?
The Court’s move to recall its “final decision” on the Fasap (Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines) case was indeed “mind-boggling and deeply disturbing.” It is easy to understand why Fasap members, having won the case three times, reacted the way they did. Fasap’s bittersweet, roller-coaster struggle in this case is very much comparable to that of a child who sees candy and is denied it. The Court should have never entertained the second Motion for Reconsideration of the PAL management, which falls under the classification of prohibited pleadings. After all, it was the Supreme Court that denied the previous motion for reconsideration and imbued it “with finality.”
The ultimate questions here are very clear. How can the Court justify its latest decision on the Fasap case? How credible is their reason for recalling the decision—which is that a wrong division made the ruling? Was there any new evidence that was presented to support the Court’s flip-flop?
William Gladstone once said that “justice delayed is justice denied.” The Fasap case has dragged for too long and its closure is long overdue. Even if Fasap wins the case in the long run, this will not make its members the real winner. Theirs would be a Pyrrhic victory, given that each one of them has sacrificed a lot of things just to keep the case going.
The primary concern here is not the case itself or whether the decision is final or not. The more important thing here is the whole process and system.
Honestly, I do not know where our country’s justice system is heading. The injustice done to Fasap in this case is not isolated. This is just one of the many cases of injustice in this country. This is just one of the reasons many Filipinos have lost faith in the Philippine justice system.
The Supreme Court took 13 years to resolve the appeal on this Fasap case. Thirteen years is no joke. I can’t understand why the Court took that long to come up with a “final” judgment.
Our justice system is like a spider web. It catches the powerless, but it is helpless when it comes to the rich and powerful. This is justice, Pinoy-style.
—FERTH VANDENSTEEN L. MANAYSAY,
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