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‘Palpak’ justice system

/ 12:16 AM August 06, 2015

Ramon Tulfo minced no words about how corruptible many magistrates have remained (“SC needs to check out inequities in justice system,” Metro, 8/1/15). Other observers think worse: Not a few of them are unpardonably dumb! How they ever passed the Judicial and Bar Council’s screening for mental and intellectual suitability for judgeship is puzzling.

It is often said that judges and justices should be impervious to outside influence. They should stay aloof and not be affected by the vagaries of public opinion. They must decide cases only on the basis of the evidence and the law. But heaven help if they think it is their duty, too, to ignore the plain dictates of common sense!

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Tulfo invited attention once more to the case of a quadriplegic (with both arms and both legs paralyzed) who was convicted of rape! That has got to be one for “Ripley’s Believe or Not”! Our guess is, Tulfo took up the cudgels for that poor guy on the belief that no reasoning on earth can trump common sense! He has been writing about that absurd verdict a hundred times, but all to no avail. Not only is our justice system “palpak,” it has become “manhid”!

The trouble is, even when a verdict as preposterous as that reaches the Supreme Court for final review (and assuming that higher wisdom sways it to strike down such an aberration), the most that usually happens is just reversal. There is seldom any sanction against the erring trial judges or appellate justices who showed no appreciation for common sense! Not even a slap on the wrist! Seriously, shouldn’t there be a deterrence against stupidity that puts everyone else’s precious time to waste?

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But then again, who is to say nowadays that the Supreme Court would not affirm that conviction? There have been decisions rendered by that Court that also raised eyebrows. A letter-writer wondered “Alas, why must court rule against logic?” (Opinion, 4/29/15). And an Inquirer commentary claimed another glaring example (“Court decision goes against common sense,” Opinion, 2/9/15), where a young man was meted out life imprisonment on the lone and uncorroborated testimony of a flip-flopping witness (who said right after the incident that he did not recognize any of the attackers—and then changed his story about a week later and, more curiously, after an opportunity to talk to lawyers), which in the ordinary course of human reckoning could not possibly rise to the level of “proof beyond reasonable doubt”! It should go without saying: That witness lied!

—MARGIE MEGAN LIBRANDO, [email protected]

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TAGS: decisions, justices, Ramon Tulfo, Supreme Court
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