Exercise judicial restraint, Supreme Court told


THE Supreme Court (SC) should exercise restraint when ruling on the legality of decisions made by their co-equal branches of government: the executive and the legislative.

Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Dasmariñas (Cavite), a lawyer, made the statement on Monday in light of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno seeing a need to stabilize the High Court’s decisions by considering its earlier rulings and ensuring that these are consistent with a looming promulgation.

Barzaga, however, said the SC went the other way when it declared illegal the discretionary Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers provided under the national budget that allows each legislator to bankroll scholarships, medical assistance and infrastructure projects for the benefit of his constituents.

The PDAF of each member of the House of Representatives is pegged at P70 million a year and at P200 million for each senator annually.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of PDAF in 1994 and 2004 by citing that the assistance fund is an epitome of Congress’ sole power of the purse.

This ruling, however, was reversed in 2013 over the P10-billion PDAF scam wherein lawmakers siphoned off PDAF from state coffers for their personal gain.

“There is nothing noble in Sereno’s pronouncement. Every law student knows the basic rule of decisions: adherence to precedents. And basic is the rule that when the Supreme Court is confronted with the issue of constitutionality of an act made by the legislature or the executive, the High Court, as much as possible, should exercise judicial restraint out of respect to a separate but a co-equal branch of the government. Such is the rule rooted in our tripartite form of government,” Barzaga pointed out.


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  1. Bonifacio Claudio on

    Barzaga is yapping on BALANCES for the 3 branches which is prone to excesses & corruption… Wouldn’t CHECK and Balances be more apt as the issue worthy of as a wake-call for the conniving executive and legislative? You’re too “Yellow-minded insisting” that PDAF & DAP were intended SOLELY for the benefit of the masses. Your article is befit for the indulgence of the “marines”… CHECK your basics, atty barzaga…

  2. armando flores on

    This Rep. Barzaga is demonstrating stupidity as well as the corrupted character of today’s congress. The Supreme court must at all times be independent from the executive and legislative to function properly. The court decides on the basis of existing laws and jurisprudence and not according to the whims and caprices of the president or congress who by all means do not deserve any respect whatsoever as they are mere thieves and opportunists. Barzaga and his band of thieves in congress and in malacanang are but “CROCODILES” disguising as public servants.

  3. All those Congressmen will cry like children , because their way of life drastically has to change, and there’s no one else to blame but themselves. How about the PDAF that they ensure it for themselves, funds that are supossedly for their constituents ,for infrastructures , are being pocketed for personal interest. De lima should investigate every cent they pocketed and it should be returned to the treasury and penalize everyone of them for what they have done .period.

  4. Mr. Barzaga should know this …IT IS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW THAT TO BE PROVEN IN THE COURT !!!!