One SC, without divisions
MA. MARGARITA Aytona wrote about the law’s delay, citing her family’s case, saying, in the Supreme Court, it “has been pending for more than five years and still nothing” (“SC party to delaying of cases,” Opinion, 8/12/15). Her name reminds me of Aytona vs Castillo, where in 11 SCRA (Supreme Court Reports Annotated) pages, the majority decided on Jan. 19, 1962, the case involving something President Diosdado Macapagal did on Dec. 31, 1961—or in a matter of 19 days!
Zos Mendoza is my client in the Lenny Villa hazing case. Lenny was killed on Feb. 11, 1991. After two years in the Caloocan Regional Trial Court, the 26 accused were convicted. I was retained on appeal.
After a decade in the Court of Appeals, Zos was acquitted along with 19 others. That should have ended the case. But the Court of Appeals entertained a motion for reconsideration. Denied, the victim’s mother and the solicitor general went up to the Supreme Court, which accepted the case, for quadruple jeopardy.
On Feb. 1, 2012, the appellate ruling was basically upheld, but again there was a startling motion that was entertained, for quintuple or multiple jeopardy. Only last April could the acquitted stop twisting in the wind—after 24 years.
The Constitution gives the Supreme Court two years to decide a case. Here, it decided a mere motion after three years.
Just one fatality in Villa. How long will it take for the Ampatuan massacre case to be decided with finality? When everybody will have died of old age?
In a new Constitution, maybe we should go back to one Supreme Court of 11 members—with no divisions—because its “Balkanization” presents its own set of problems. In the United States, “nine scorpions in a bottle” dispose of all cases in a country of 320 million people.
—R.A.V. SAGUISAG, Palanan, Makati City
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