It’s the Constitution that is supreme, not the Supreme Court

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THIS truth must  be stated repeatedly  and understood by all – lest the nation break apart in confusion and indignation over the recent Supreme Court decision to reverse  a decision by the Commission on Elections and allow Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares  to run for president in the May 9 elections.

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In the  confusion,  some contend that the  final word has been spoken,  and all must fortwith submit.

They  forget an essential  rule of our constitutional republic – and that is the supremacy of the Constitution over all organs and  instrumentalities of government.

Constitutional supremacy  precedes any claim by the Supreme Court to  supremacy over any issue submitted to it for adjudication.

The Court may command  respect as the final arbiter in  judicial process. But the
Constitution is supreme, paramount, and superior  to any decision of the High Court.

The reason for this is crystal clear.  The  sworn duty of the Supreme  Court  is to uphold and defend the Constitution. Like other  instrumentalities of government, the High Court  is a creation of the Constitution; it cannot surpass or exceed  the Constitution in authority in our national life.

The concept  of  the supremacy of the Constitution has long been settled in the history of democracies and constitutional governments. So it is also in our national history, where reverence for  the Constitution is sacrosanct, and  constitutional supremacy has been affirmed in several decisions of our Supreme  Court.

To quote one paper published in  the Modern Law Review:  “The concept of the supremacy of the constitution confers the highest authority in a legal system on the Constitution.

Stating this principle does not mean just giving a rank order of legal norms.  It concerns the institutional structure of the organs of State.”

The Supreme Court’s power of judicial review, which is explicitly provided by the Constitution, is our chief legal instrument in the system of checks and balances. It confers no authority on the Court to disregard, amend, or interpret the charter at will.

Any deviation from this fundamental truth of constitutional supremacy  will constitute a derangement of the functions of government and its institutions.

Without the authority and majesty of the Constitution, the  SC and its 15 jusitces will have neither teeth nor power to bind. When a majority of justices fail to uphold the Constitution in their decision on a vital question of national life,  they invite opposition, or worse, impeachment.

To many this is what happened in the Court’s verdict on  Senator  Poe’s case. Our justices set aside the clear provisions of the Constitution on  the qualifications of  candidates seeking the presidency.

We can only hope  that the Court’s majority provides sufficient and convincing ground  for its verdict. If it cannot, then the issue must be argued and deliberated anew.

We  think the Court  made things difficult for itself and for everyone by announcing a verdict  without issuing a majority opinion in writing,  and without saying whether and how it addressed or settled the citizenship  and residency questions hounding Senator  Poe. It left the door ajar for open opposition and defiance of its verdict.

This is why we in the Times  believe that the High Court and the justices should take the time, when the majority opinion is still being written, to reexamine their vote and review their opinions. If there is need  for them to vote again, they should.

The most important  element in this suggested review is thoughtful consideration by the Court whether it has satisfied the clear demands of  the Constitution on this issue of  Ms. Poe’s eligibility to run for president.

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53 Comments

  1. “The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the Judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”
    — Thomas Jefferson

  2. the judges made an exception in treating a case at hand with pure presumption rather than respecting the constitution and probably recommend for amendments to avoid similar confusion in the future where foundlings r given the specific kind of citizenship…true enough our supreme court acted supreme over our constitution…if they were able to do it now then they will be able to do it anytime they want…it has to stop!!! and should also be held accountable for their actions as they do would normally held others

    • impeachment will be the answer.. to those justices that disregard the Constitution ot the Republic.

  3. Majority wins, I may respect that majority decision but it does not mean that I agree with it. It’s the “Rule of Poe” now! Hoping that this will not be abused as a precedent.

  4. Natalia this is not about who she is, it can be any candidate. This is about following the Constitution.

  5. Cris peregrino on

    So anong magiging official name Nya pag sya ang naging president? Last name ni POE or her married last name. Kahiya naman ang system ng ating gobyerno at pano ang family Nya still American citizen? And then balik

  6. Sinasabi lang ninyo yan ngayon,,pero noon alisin si erap at si corona,wala man lamang Sa inyo na nagreklamo,tungkol sa constitution! Panahon,Panahon lang ba iyan!

  7. sobrang nakakalungkot ang nangyayaring ito sa ating bansa pati supreme court di ipinatupad ang saligang batas para paboran ang kandidato ng isa pang cojuangco! Talagang nasadlak na sa dusa ang Bayan ko!

  8. I am not a Lawyer too, but you don’t need to be a Lawyer to understand the very basic requirement of aspiring as PH Prez candidate of our land. I am puzzled on how and where these 9 justices extracted the basis of their pro arguments that Ms. Poe is qualified to run as a Prez candidate, when in fact the Constitution is crystal clear that Ms. Poe did not met the requirement. Worst was that her Patriotism to our country is questionable, add to this for having an American Husband and children’s. As one well known politician quoted,” I would rather see my country run by an evil Filipino than a foreigner.”

  9. Dominic Jimenez on

    It is disgusting to know how the justices who are supposed to uphold the constitution willfully and blatantly twisted the law which should have been considered for the good of the majority and not just to favor some politicians and marginalized sector of the society such as foundlings.

    I am not a lawyer but I think I’m learned enough to know that a foundling is indeed a citizen of the country. The only question is how the citizenship of a foundling is conferred. Surely enough that it is not through natural born way. I agree that there is a loophole or gray area in the law about citizenship when it comes to foundlings. The law does not specify how the citizenship is conferred to a foundling.

    I’m not a lawyer but I’m learned enough to know that the issue here is not whether or not the foundling aspiring for the highest position of the land is a citizen of the country but how she got her citizenship. Is it through naturalization or naturally; or should I rather asks: was she naturalized or natural borned?

    I’m not a lawyer but I’m not dumb not to know that they are using the issue of foundlings as a basis to enable a foundling politician to run for the highest post of the land. The law is very clear that only natural-borned citizens of the land can run for public office.

    I’m not a lawyer but I’m not dumb not to know that we are being fooled by these justices that they are circumventing the law to accommodate the request of a powerful oligarch in power who said that the public is his bos while silently elating himself to the position of God who does what he wants to do no matter what.

    I’m not a lawyer but I know an opportunist when I see one. For the sake of sanity and to prevent anarchy, please respect the law and don’t take advantage of the present popularity compel the aspirant to run for the highest position of the land. Spare us the trouble and please wait for the right turn, or should I say, until the law is amended and passed that would enable foundlings to run for public office. After all, if it is DESTINY, it shall be; if not, it’s just an OPPORTUNITY.

    Please, we are living in a very fragile democracy. People are sick and tired of corruption and poverty. Everyone is just waiting for a credible leader and if there wiuld be none, we sure could expect RULE OF MOB to prevail. Wake up and learn from history. We are at the brink of becoming another RUSSIA when the BOLSHEVIKS rose to power and killed the zar, his family and the aristocrats of those times. It almost happened to the Marcoses but did not. It could happen to the Aquinos.

  10. pedro somoroy on

    oh well its high time to part ways. the constitution is the only piece of paper that holds us together and it is disregarded. goodbye filipinos. LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL REPUBLIK OF MINDANAO.

  11. Issuing a decision without accompanying written arguments gives room for doubts. Let us all be vigilant as this involves violation of our Constitution, the basic and supreme law of our land.

  12. Huwag kayong mag Biro, this is about the presidency that will govern us for the next generation of our children.

  13. This is judicial tyranny and nothing less. The ball is now in the hands of the Filipino people. There are no tyrants where there are no slaves.

  14. A Justice of the SC who got 50 million pesos in exchange for a favorable ruling will not change his vote. He may have to return the money, and who is going to that? Fifty million pesos ensures a first class lifestyle. Impeachment is the only remedy to rid the Supreme Court of such sellouts. The process will take a long long time, but it must be done or the Rule of Law will never be restored. As The Manila Times columnist Mr. Homobono Adaza says: the country needs a revolution. It may just be a quiet revolution by concerned citizens, but a revolution, nevertheless. Otherwise, nothing will ever change in this country of oligarchs.

    It is hard to believe that the nine SC justices found Comelec to have committed “grave abuse of discretion”. It is as though they never studied Constitutional Law and had not been taught to protect and defend a document which reflects the will of the people. What price integrity? It is clear that they were in the tank for Mrs. G. Poe-Llamanzares and decided to believe her “honest mistake” claim on her CoC. Since “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”, next time, someone gets a parking ticket from a policeman, just claim: “it was an honest mistake”! If the policeman persists in issuing a ticket, accept the ticket, and appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. Let us see how those nine justices will decide the issue. Would they rule “grave abuse of discretion” on the part of the policeman?

  15. Juan Delacruz on

    One of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice mentioned onetime that the job of the Supreme Court Justices is to “APPLY THE LAW” NOT to interpret the Law. The Philippine Supreme court Justices that voted for Grace Poe clearly violated their mandated duties by interpreting what was not in the Constitution. Is it maybe because of MONEY? maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw! This is an INSULT to all Filipino People and the Whole Country in general.

  16. well,
    the constitution has been bought and now majority-owned by smc c/o danding;
    that’s free market democracy.

  17. Joel Bantasan on

    The Constitution speaks of “natural born” Filipino citizenship and at least 10-year residency requirements to qualify as “President”, not a mere “candidate” for President. Hence, until Poe becomes president, the requirements will not apply. The filing of the disqualification based on lack of 10-year residency and for not being “natural born” is premature.

    However, she should be disqualified for material representation in her Certificate of Candidacy. This should only be the plausible basis for her disqualification which the COMELEC correctly ruled.

    Poe did not win her disqualification case. It is not yet over! Perhaps, the SC Decision when the voting resulted to 9-6, will state that SC will have to defer ruling on the “residency” and “natural born” requirement if and until she becomes President. But who would dare?

  18. And I quote;
    We are what we make of our Constitution. When we respect and obey the Constitution, we respect and honor the sovereign people. When we trifle with or desecrate the Constitution, we betray our nation and we become traitors to our people.

    Manuel “Lolong” Lazaro
    PHILCONSA Chairman
    http://www.philconsa.org/

    • Francis Dizon on

      Now…..here’s a man who should be seating as chief justice. Good to recall his wisdom during the GCC days.

    • gilda ordillo on

      very true and a betrayal of trust to our judicial system from top to the bottom.

  19. It isn’t only odd but also it is very much unusual that the SC has already the voting, while their bases of their decision have not yet come in public.Maybe those 9 justices were trying so hard to extract any points of convincing arguments to support their “unacceptable, very disappointing, very ‘unlawyer’, and so unlikely” interpretation of the basic constitutional provision on natural-born citizenship. Depending on how convincing their arguments would be when it comes out, at last, and unfortunately, they could not buy our normal mental faculties with their twists, maybe this would be the right time for us to unite to save the sanctity of the Constitution and let those 9 gods and goddesses in the Padre Faura learn a very simple lesson. It is too much.

  20. The majority of the Supreme Court justices may have fallen in love with their perceived power in number having been of one mind and position, albeit how faulty regarding this crucial issue that they have lost track of their basic constitutional duty, obligation and responsibility—that is, to defend and uphold the Constitution. SC justices are empowered by the Constitution to rule upon legal and constitutional questions based on what are provided for under the basic law—and not to interpret or in effect amend the constitution by forcing their own individual/personal appreciation/judgment of the issue at hand.

    Am not a lawyer but it does not take a lawyer to see that the issue surrounding Poe’s DQ case is basic and elementary that require no expansive interpretation of what are clearly and unequivocally provided for under the Constitution.

    • gilda ordillo on

      very true, trying to bend the law for their own personal interest and gratification of the one who push them to do so, the SC justices cannot stand on what is rigth as define and outline in our constitution, now whom can we trust among them to uphold and defend our constitution??? this is so sad and pathetic,
      Well said kababayan.

  21. pedro mungkal on

    in every area of the philippine legal system, very clear provisions of law are always subjected to interpretations and personal views. nothing is in black and white. even a statement that says “10 years is required” is still being interpreted. 10 is not nine or 8 or nine and a half. whatever considerations a person have doesnt have any effect on the number being 10. i guess the supreme court may have to change the way we count!

  22. I hope this is not another case of a decision without explanation like what I just recently read of a case early this year. Although it was not a decision en banc but the Constitution clearly provides that all judiciary decisions shall have an accompanying explanation how the decision was arrived at.

  23. Interesting. The residency issue of Grace Llamansanares is so clear you don’t have to be justice to know that just by simple mathematics. She even written 6yrs and 6 mos on her COC of course it’s “Honest Mistakes” right? Imagine a President deciding critical issues for the country making “Honest Mistakes”. 5 years ago Grace is just an ordinary preschool teacher then suddenly one day she wants to be a President? Wow!! She can’t even pass a single bill, she’s no especial senator neither she can be good leader for the country what is her experience in executive?? No to cory aquino era again! #NotoTraPoe #DisGracePoe

    • So, are you saying “Cory Aquino Adminintration, Part 2?” If that is so, may God help and save the Philippines.

  24. Yes indeed….members pf the Supreme Court forgot their sworn statement to uphold the Supreme Law of the Land. They acted in defiance of the Constitutional provisions. They should ponder over their deeds and rectify their wrong. Please review your decisions very well from being attacked from within and without. Thank you.

  25. Must stay Vigilant . This administration has done so much damage to our Country with the hands and claws of political greed. BSAquino impeachment of Corona was the beginning of his
    manipulation of the courts. All his appointees think alike that they are all above the law or the law themselves.
    This is the time that the Oppositions should Unite and set aside their differences if they want to fight the Evil that is destroying the Democracy in our country.

    The Silent majority should speak out now.

    • gilda ordillo on

      very true, the impeachment of Corona shows the manipulation of a true democracy to a dictatorship just to get even with your enemies, money is the law to those who betrayed us, the Congress and the Senate can be bought with a large sum of money, what more can they do? what will happen to us who do not have money? how can we obtain justice? the very scary government we have now, the people voice will be heard in such an unusual way if changes will not be seen in the future to come

  26. Demetrio Ponce on

    It is absurd to release a decision without an accompanying argument based on facts of the case, the law (which in this case is the constitution itself), and precedent – as in prior Supreme Court rulings. The action of the Supreme Court in this regard only validates the long held belief that Grace Poe Llamanzares is indeed the secret candidate of BS Aquino, whose arm twisting of the justices is very clear. But we should not lose hope in the wisdom of the Filipino people for they will not allow the trampling of the constitution by corrupted justices. If you want Aquino and the justices held accountable, do not vote for Grace Poe Llamanzares on May 9.

  27. Needless to say these 9 justices who voted not to disqualify Poe are political. The chief justice even lawyered for Poe as evident in her statements in defending her regarding the clear language of the law and upholding her mere opinion.

  28. Let us all move on ..respect the supreme courts decision …the 9 justices votes shown that our country Philippines has a strong democracy .We salute to all 9 honorable justices .

    Let us all vote for the untainted ,sincere ,smart, brave and compassionate candidate senator Grace Poe in may 2016 presidential election.

    We are thankful/grateful to all 9 SUPREME COURTS members who voted
    for grace Poe to run as president in may 2016 election ..MABUHAY POE SA
    9 NA JUSTICES …MAY YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES BE BLESS THIS YEAR AND SO
    ON.

    I agree Natalia Salvacion

    It is really awakening to the Filipinos, because Senator Grace POE is
    our future great leader! Because a great leader must lead by example.
    By walking her talk, she becomes a person others want to follow. When
    she say one thing, but do another, they erode trust, a critical element
    of productive leadership! Vote for Senator POE this election.
    ‪#‎POE2016‬

    senator grace deserves every bit of succes na tinatamasa nya ngayon!
    well grounded humble and genuinely kind. the supreme court did a great
    job siding her. hoping for the best madame president!

    • Ano ba naman to? “succes na tinatamasa nya ngayon!” Wala kaming pakialam at di kami kadamay. Sino ba sya?

    • Senator Poe is a well know liar and has submitted documents to obtain her citizenship that were fraudulent. Senator Poe apparently used the SSN number that belonged to a dead person while living in the US.

      If Senator Poe is the future of the Philippines then i have to wonder what that future will be like guided by a liar and forger that will continue to feed the dynasties the money of the people.

    • Conrad Capule on

      Set aside your political preferences and stop to think…. The Constitution is clear and it seems that the guardians of the Constitution have assumed more power than they should have. Who is guarding and protecting the Constitution now? This decision should be recalled for a review…. Or we may soon be facing a constitutional crisis!

    • huwag na po ninyo itama ang mali ang baluktot ay hindi dapat tuwirin. Ang kailangan natin ay ipatupad kung ano ang isinasaad ng ating saligang batas. Kung ano ang nararapat ay siya nating ipatupad. Ganoon lang po kasimple ang batas para ang kapanatagan at katatagan ng ating bansa ay makamtan

  29. Josemakabayan on

    Now it seems that the constitution is not majestic and “written in stone” as it was envisioned by its framers, but just a piece of paper subject to the interpretations and emotions of the majority members of the SC.

  30. I lost respect with our supposed to be the last recourse, the Supreme Court. My children abhor you. I can’t find a word to scorn you. I am burning with fury with your mockery of our constitution. If I could only crush you into pieces…

    • Maybe we can call on all the lawyers’ association to make a stand and give press releases to have indignation speeches against these nine associate justices of the supreme court. It’s right, court is supreme but still the constitution created the court.

  31. Melanio Calayeg on

    I could not find the author of this article. He never mention in his article on who made the Constitution in the first place?

  32. The SC justices who failed to uphold the Constitution will hide under the technical merits based on the excuse by Llamanzares on her failure to establish residency: “Honest mistake”. They took that as the “end all be all” statement encompassing whatever clear provision the Constitution provides. Impeachment should be in line for these hoodlum in robes. They’ve tainted the clear provisions of the Constitution. It is explicit that they voted for political reasons.

  33. Rodolfo Liporada on

    To circumvent the provisions of the Constitution is to prove that the Philippine Government is not of, by, and for the people. It is a government of those who could subvert to constitution to satisfy their own whims at the expense of the people.

  34. Taking on the Supreme Court is not easy task, You also have to take on the government (Liberal Party) who is backing Poe. That means the President and all his yes men minions.
    You also have every agency connected to the government the Dept of Justice, the Ombudsman, the COA to contend with not to mention the dynasty families who own the government.

    This would have to be a civil war to rid the country of the corruptors, replacing a president isn’t going to change anything.

  35. Natalia Salvacion on

    Nagsalita na ang comelec, kaya dapat respetuhin natin iyon. Lahat naman tayo, nagsimula sa pagiging ordinaryong tao, nangarap maging mabuting mamamayan, hinangad na makatulong sa kapwa, sadya lang talagang may mga taong hindi marunong tumanggap ng katotohanan. pinuno nila ang isip at puso nila ng mga pangit na strategy para lang mapanatili nila ang sarili kung nasaan sila, pinagtakpan ang batas dahil sa perang meron sila, kulang nalang maging by one take na ang hustisya. sa panahon ngayon isa lang ang taong nakikita kong hindi magiging bias, hindi magiging puppet, hindi pipiliin ang tutulungan at hindi mananahimik sa mga nakikitang problema. yes, hindi pa ganun kahaba ang kanyang karanasan sa politika pero hindi naman iyon dahilan para husgahan siya na walang kakayanan. tigilan na din natin ang pagkumpara sa kanya sa mga pulpol na pulitiko. nag iisa nalang siya na may paninindigan at kusang maglingkod. kaya naman senator grace poe, huwag ka papatinag, manatili kang matatag sa lahat ng hamon ng iyong mga kalaban at detractors. nandito lang kami na susuporta sa bawat laban mo :) ikaw ang aming presidente!

    • “may paninindigan at kusang maglingkod”. Ano ang pinaninindigan nya?. Ano a t sino ang pinaglingkuran nya sa Mamasapano massacre investigation? Paglilingkuran si Jingoy na nakakulong? Tatay nya ‘run for president’ para naman kay erap na nakakulong?