Not whether the High Court will review its decision, it must

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I put this advice to the Supreme Court in the imperative mood, in order to underscore the urgency, the gravity and the necessity for the Court to review or rehear its inconclusive and questionable ruling on the Grace Poe vs. Comelec disqualification case.

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Some people say, in despair, that it is useless to complain, because the Supreme Court does not review or rehear a case, once it issues a ruling.

That is nonsense. To calm our deeply troubled nation and dispel the constitutional and political crisis rising before us, the High Court must review, revisit, rehear or repent this atrocious decision. It cannot claim that its verdict is final like the word of God. That would be contrary to all reason and justice, which essentially means doing the right thing.

Supreme Courts better and wiser than the Sereno Court have revisited cases and rewritten their decisions and doctrinal pronouncements.

To cite just one notable contemporary example, the US Supreme Court is currently rehearing for the fourth time its historic decision (in June 2015) on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare, which divided America.

Uncle Sam’s Supremes did not say, We do not review our decisions. So why won‘t our Supremes do the same?

585 pages of penance
To earn the right to write my own opinion on the contested Supreme Court decision, I spent the whole of Holy Week reading and studying the SC decision and relevant literature on the controversy.

I painstakingly read the ponencia written by Justice Jose Portugal Perez, the concurring opinions of five justices, and the dissenting opinions of five justices, which all told totalled 585 legal-sized pages.

It was an ordeal, but I thought it was an acceptable burden and penance to take on in exchange for understanding the legal, human, and political issues surrounding this bewildering case of Grace Poe’s lust for the presidency.

Reading the almost 600 pages of legal opinions has been both a pleasant and rude discovery for me. Pleasant because this exercise has been an education in the law. Some of the opinions (the dissenting opinions, principally) are marked by fine writing and cogent argumentation.

But rude also, because the majority opinion of Justice Perez and the concurring opinions are marked by pedestrian writing, lazy reasoning, and glaring partisanship for Grace Poe.

Confused and confusing ruling
The exact ruling and the exact vote still remains to be clarified and explained. When Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno tried to explain the situation, she only made it more confused and confusing. Her claim of a 9-6 majority vote was bluntly exposed as a falsehood by dissenting justices. Justice Perez’s unbelievably weak and unconvincing ponencia only showed how divided the court is on the case.

The inconclusive ruling of the Sereno Court, which was billed at first by the Court’s spokesman and the media as favoring Senator Poe, was like a stake driven into the heart of the nation by politically-inspired justices.

The nation‘s reaction to the news was electric and angry. Where in past court decisions, the great majority of the people felt they were vindicated by their Supreme Court, this time the popular majority felt that they had been betrayed and let down by the Court.

Consequently, there are two petitions for the Court to review the disputed ruling.

One is the Motion for Reconsideration (MR) of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which asked the Court last week to deliberate and vote anew on Grace Poe’s petition for certiorari. It said: “With due respect, the Court should reexamine its majority decision, for its legal and constitutional infirmities and, more importantly, for having heightened political passions in the country that could ignite civil strife. There is no factual or legal basis for the ruling that the petitioner is a qualified candidate in the May 9, 2016 national elections.”

For their part, the original petitioners (Elamparo, Tatad, Contreras and Valdez) also filed their own Motion for Reconsideration before the Court. They asked the Court to reverse the Perez ponencia and save the election from being thoroughly debased by Poe.

Their MR cited no less than eight specific errors in the Perez ponencia.

Justice Perez’s assertion that the Comelec has no authority to pass upon the constitutional qualifications of presidential candidates is a blatant misreading of the Constitution and a contravention of previous rulings of the Court, some of which Perez wrote himself.

Strangely, Perez also ruled that Susan Roces is a biological parent of Grace Poe. He validated Poe’s second birth certificate, which declared that Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces are her biological parents.

This means effectively that Grace Poe is “a woman who was born twice.”

Will the public believe that Susan is Poe’s mother? Can Tito Sotto and “Eat Bulaga” sell this crap to the public?

Naked challenge to the Constitution
The May elections should put to the test this total contempt for the electorate.

It’s not only the intelligentsia that is now questioning angrily the SC decision to allow Grace Poe to run.

Young people (the millennials) and the proverbial man on the street are now wondering aloud why the nation is going through all these contortions and acrobatics, for an ambitious woman whose identity is unknown, and whose Filipino citizenship is unproven.

We must deal with Grace Poe because she represents a naked and open challenge to our constitutional system, one that is financed by powerful business interests, who believe that they can buy the presidency.

If we do not stop this assault, our constitutional order could collapse, and the nation will list until it can find its mooring.

If Grace Poe succeeds in forcing her way into the balloting in May, the elections could be turned into a mockery as one justice has warned.

We are in this rut because the Supreme Court has momentarily lost its way.

John F. Kennedy said that “an error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”

Correcting the errors and averting the mistake is, in essence, the central message of the dissenting opinions in the SC decision. This I will tackle at length in my next column.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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28 Comments

  1. Juan Liwanag on

    We must insist that Grace poe llamansarez lacks residency requirement which everyone seems to down play the IRS USA records proves only in 2012 Grace llamansarez no longer US citizen

  2. You wrongly stated that the US Supreme Court is currently rehearing its decision on the Obama care law. This is not the Obama care law which was decided in June 2015. To be exact, the court currently court will consider how a contraception-coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act applies to religiously affiliated institutions like schools and hospitals. Many of them object to an accommodation offered by the Obama administration that allows them to avoid the requirement by filling out a form, saying that makes them complicit in sinful conduct.

  3. delfin todcor on

    The supreme Court is our primary means in guaranteeing that everyone in the Nation is subject to the Rule of Law including themselves and all citizens whether rich or poor.Holding a government position or not! But if Judges are corrupt and use their power to favor certain people: Oligarchs.Elites,government officials,friends,then poverty,chaos,business will not tribe because of fear that the Laws will be use against them to extort,defraud the business owners with out fear of punishment!Therefore we must compel the SC or the SC judges to be fair if they wantto restore the dignity of the courts and the nation’ Judiciary!

  4. delfin todcor on

    The Rule of Law must prevail all over the Nation! All people of the nation must be hold accountable by the Supreme Court including themselves and all government officials including the President!This is the best way to safeguard our Nation from corruption in government!!!Proverbs 6:12-19; 14:34.

  5. What is proven in the tragedy initiated by the Supreme Court Justices in accepting Grace Llamanzares Poe as natural born without her lawyer proving it, as a fact, is a diminution of the Courts traditional ability to render objective justice, unbiased and sacred. An insult to the legal profession with its own Supreme Court, instrumental in creating a Constitutional Crisis, with its Chief Justice who failed to pass the requisite psychological test, to ensure that she possesses the minimum mental ability necessary, to qualify for the position of Chief Justice.

  6. Unless we act fast to save our Republic, we all fall. The 9 justices, in conspiracy with some of the riches men in the country, had debased/dishonored/trampled upon our Constitution. Whom shall we follow now: the Court justices who betrayed us or the people’s document we call “Constitution”?

  7. Indeed the love of money is the root of all evil!

    For me as a layman’s, the SC decision is obviously influence by something, & that is there GREED.

    Obviously, GRACE POE do not have enough residency as requisite for her to run as president. Presuming that she is a Filipino by birth; but let us not forget that she denied her citizenship the time she acquire her american citizenship.

    Justices must be blindfolded but it sad to say that “NASILAW” ang iba sa kanila.

    They must look @ the evidence presented but again it sad to say even without any evidence they already have a decision in there minds!

    #GREED is heavier than EVIDENCE

  8. ‘lust for the presidency’ is a most accurate and appropriate description of Llamanzares’s burning desire.

    ‘pedestrian writing, lazy reasoning, and glaring partisanship for Grace’ Llamanzares (I refuse to use this person’s adoptive last name because she is not one) is Justice Perez’s caliber of a justice.

    Thank you so much, Yen, for another most brilliant expose. I just pray that the electorate’s eyes may be opened to make an informed decision come election time.

  9. pakialamero ako on

    I don’t think it will change anything because the money paid to the SC Justices are already deposited safely in their bank accounts. The Justices that abstained from voting should have their money deposited in their account by now, as well. They will be in Baguio writing their decisions and doctrinal pronouncement, and nobody, I mean nobody can do anything whatever decisions they will render. The MONEY will be the biggest contributing factor FOR Grace Poe.

  10. I want to see what the Integrted Bar of the Philippines has to say about this issue which is a major one.

  11. First of all, can we all stop calling that institution the Supreme Court? It is plain and simple, SERENO COURT. In local parlance, it can be called KORTE SAMPERA.

    Be that as it may, all patriotic and freedom loving Filipinos should now be ready to take arms and bring all those who bastardized the Constitution literally into an early appointment with Lucy Ferrer. When you mess with my country, be ready for its consequences. Besides, tsaynah has declared total ownership of the entire West Philippine Sea and this is one reason we can all prepare for the tsaynis invasion. The tsaynis have also started to probe Malaysian territory using 100 boats disguised as fishermen when we know in intelligence parlance that those fishermen are just spies just like all consular offices of the US are centers of intel.

  12. Sad to say but there are still SC Justices masquerading as “honorable magistrates” but in REALITY (according to a former President) they are “hoodlums in robes”

  13. Harold Imperial on

    Even Grace Poe’s answer about her citizenship was spot on! As more information about the government becomes available to you, you would be more brilliant, that’s for sure. May God lead you to Malacanang, Grace Poe. #POE2016

  14. renato irlanda on

    this justice perez should go back to grade one
    maski sinong mangmang alam na hindi pwede dalawang beses pinapanganak ang tao susmaryosep naman, saan kayang planeta nanggaling ang perez na ito!!!
    justice may pamilya ka tiyak, isipin mo nalang ang hiyang binibigay ma sa kanila sa ponencia mong ginawa!!!

    • renato, i did not read the justices opinions regarding the case of poequino-poejuangco. it is only by reading this opinion column of yen makabenta that i become aware that justice perez opined that grace poequino-poejuanco is the biological daughter of susan and ronald poe. sanamagan. paano nangyari yon?? is the justice suffering from mental block or what??

  15. We will hang those Justices who subverted the Constitution.

    What you are asking from them to act, could only be their last chance to save themselves.

  16. Leodegardo Pruna on

    I hope and pray that people will see the light in the writings of Mr. Yen and others who believe that the “Rule of Law” must prevail in governance and those breaking and twisting the law must be made to answer for their intentional distortion and brazen violation of established conduct of behavior. Disgraced GRACE and Ang San Miguel and their cohorts must be made to answer to the people whom they want to fool and played around for their own selfish and evil interests. God save the Philippines from evil and the evil ones.

  17. Amerikano Poe

    Ang Miguel Poe

    Sinungaling Poe

    Sobra na Poe

    Tama na Poe

    Sige na Poe

    Alis na Poe

    Good Bye na Poe

    Poe tragis

    Galit na Poe

    Tapos ka Poe

  18. What is happening to our country is pretty much like the small and vindictive mind of BS Aquino III imposing its will on the erstwhile brilliant minds of the Supreme Court justices or should we say on its Chief Justice who he appointed solely to obey him. The eight justices not appointed by Aquino should save this country and do the right thing and clarify its ruling or reverse it so the Filipino people can sleep in peace knowing justice has prevailed. The alternative is chaos.

  19. This piece should be a MUST reading and concern for every Pilipino and for all-well meaning Pilipinos to challenge every one in the legal profession, especially the Deans of every Law School, including all the students of law; the IBP, PHILCONSA and the Law Firms worth their salt, to make their stand and position on the subject matter.

  20. Mr. Makabenta after being a cry baby in the SC decision , you now cry to uncle Sam for guidance.You spewed hatred to Grace Poe as undeserving American woman but glorifies
    US jurisprudence. The affirmist Gabriela and Bayan muna revolutionaries might die laughing. When the Sereno court will finally throw the petition to reconsider their decision
    the electorates will be given the chance to be heard in the May elections and your worst nightmare might come to reality.

  21. Several Supreme Court Justices led by Lourdes Sereno are just playing games with the Republic of the Philippines. Obviously the alleged 9 are there to confuse the public on purpose so Sereno can fake the announcement of the decision which only produced a plurality of votes, not the required number of 50% plus 1 vote. Unfortunately, not many are reading all articles relative of this SC decision so they do not know that the decision is tantamount to changing the tone of the Constitution to fit only one person, not all citizens. How the same Sereno led Justices will solve the expected cases to be filed by those who were disqualified from running for office who have shown legal and better qualifications than one Grace P. Llamanzares and those who filed their candidacy for the presidency who were also disqualified as noisance candidates will be a huge problem for the SC all because of the ulterior motives of these justices.

  22. taga palm springs on

    Educate the people not to elect POE because she is not even blood-related POE. She is now Mrs. Llamanzares! She is only riding on the popular name of Fernando Poe! Also ABS-CBN must stop airing Provinciano because this is truly lopsided covert subtle deceiving campaign teleserye!

  23. Walden Mendoza on

    Sana naman makamove on na tayo sa issue ng citizenship ni Sen Grace Poe tanggapin na lang na qualified siya SC na din ang nagpatunay nun. Isa pa deserving naman siya lumaban sa eleksyon wala naman nakikita na dahilan para harangin si Sen Poe.

  24. If civil strife is ignited because of an uncorrected error by the institution which is supposed to be the last bastion of freedom and justice in the country, so be it. Perhaps, we ‘deserved’ what we get!

    “Walang naunang pagsisi, kun’di sa huli.”

    May God save the Philippines!