Silence on a gravely wrong decision
Please allow me to put in my two cents’ worth regarding the case of former UP college student, Christopher Soliva (“What will it take to make SC right a grave wrong,” Opinion, 3/30/15). It is interesting to note that no one from the prosecution or the victims’ side has come out to comment on the various views expressing dismay over Soliva’s conviction by the Supreme Court based merely on the “barefaced flop from a flip” of a single witness (“Court decision goes against common sense, Opinion, 2/9/15). Their deafening silence actually speaks volumes. Is that not a clear indication that the Supreme Court might have erred in convicting him? If so, how could it remain so callous?
Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te (himself a former UP law professor, whose expertise in criminal law gained him enough recognition to be designated Bar examiner in 2014 in that subject), was strangely quiet, too; in cases that needed clarification or amplification he never hesitated to take the podium to speak up or to react via the Inquirer. Is he afraid of losing his job if he spoke against a decision that he, as a criminal law expert, knows in his heart of hearts is out of whack?
The report “Court junks kidnap case vs ex-NBI chief” (News, 4/2/15) quoted the Court of Appeals as saying: “The court cannot permit and stay on the sidelines when the rights of a person, whether a high-ranking official or an ordinary citizen, have been violated.” Lack of due process nullified the indictment against a former high-ranking public official in that case. The sheer hypocrisy of clichés like that makes me sick to my gut!
True, that is as it should be in any “court of justice,” be it in the lower courts or in the Court of Appeals—and more so in the Supreme Court, supposedly the ultimate guardian of the people’s constitutional rights. As any lawyer worth his shirt knows, mere “reasonable doubt” suffices to uphold anyone’s constitutional presumption of innocence. That’s “due process” in its finest sense. The Constitution categorically requires nothing less than proof of “guilt beyond reasonable doubt” before any person (be he “high-ranking” or just “ordinary”) can be deprived of his precious liberty. But Soliva is the quintessential “ordinary citizen,” a nobody in the eyes of the honorable justices of the highest court of the land—so, let’s just move on and the heck with his constitutional rights?
—CARMELA N. NOBLEJAS, [email protected]
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