The law is made for man, not man for law | Inquirer Opinion

The law is made for man, not man for law

/ 12:12 AM March 04, 2016

There is this maxim: The law is made for man, not man for the law. When a law ceases to serve its purpose, it is either amended or changed. In some instances, a new law is enacted to keep up with the call of the times. On the other hand, the law is only a shadow (or an antecedent) of good things to come, not the realities themselves.

Unfortunately, there is no provision in our Constitution and neither is there any doctrine in our jurisprudence recognizing foundlings found in the Philippines as natural-born Filipino citizens, thereby casting some doubts on the nature of presidential candidate Grace Poe’s citizenship.


Conventional wisdom dictates that children should not be made to suffer for the sins of their parents, in much the same way that parents should not suffer for the sins of their children.

The case of foundling Poe is pathetic because instead of her plight evoking sympathy and consideration, she is now facing disqualification charges.


Incidentally, the statistical probability that Poe is a natural-born Filipino was clearly established, with supporting documents, by Solicitor General Florin Hilbay during the oral arguments in the Supreme Court. It is hoped that would settle once and for all the citizenship issue in her favor.

Should the high court decide otherwise and uphold the Commission on Elections’ reading of the law, then there is no more truth nor reason to the saying that the law is made for man, not man for the law. Then we have no choice but to face the inconvenient truth that thousands of other foundlings found in the Philippines would have to be deemed similarly; and those who are holding elective or appointed government positions or scholarships would have to be stripped of their present job or privilege, as the case may be. And thus, henceforth, will things be for all foundlings—simply because of a circumstance of their birth of which completely they had no hand.

Allow me to call to mind the Gospel story about Jesus being watched closely by Pharisees and teachers of the law for any transgression. At that time, people were forbidden to do any work on the Sabbath, but Jesus healed a man whose right arm had been shriveled. When the Pharisees remonstrated, he asked them: “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil; to save life or to destroy it?” Thus Jesus, the Teacher, made clear to all that the law is made for man, not man for the law.

It is hoped that the Supreme Court will not have a hard time deciding on the disqualification case against Poe—in the interest of justice.

—ARMANDO LIBRANDO ALPAY, c/o [email protected]

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TAGS: Constitution, Elections 2016, Grace Poe, law
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