SENATE President Franklin Drilon on Wednesday called on the Supreme Court to seriously consider practicing the principle of judicial restraint in order for the SC to focus more on resolving pending cases.
While the judiciary is empowered to review all forms of abuse of discretion under the Constitution, Drilon said, it should also practice judicial restraint and restrain itself from interfering in matters it lacks competence in.
“The number of cases that [is]pending in the Supreme Court is such that it has become physically impossible for them [SC justices] to finish all these cases within a reasonable period of time. So what I am saying is that one possible solution is to exercise judicial restraint in accepting cases that are filed in the court,” the Senate President explained during the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay news forum.
According to Drilon, the High Court should refrain from taking on cases especially those that are considered as highly technical.
In further proving his point, the Senate President cited the Writ of Kalikasan issued by the SC ordering government agencies and local government units to help restore the now polluted Pasig River and Manila Bay.
Drilon questioned the tribunal reportedly instructing local chief executives of cities and towns along the Pasig River to submit quarterly reports on their respective efforts to clean up the river.
“Now, what are they [SC] doing with all those reports? Why is there a requirement [for such]?” he said.
It would be better, Drilon added, if the judiciary would just confine itself to issues involving the law and conflicts between two parties and leave technical issues to those who are competent to handle them.
He said the SC justices should not be worried about being criticized for refusing cases that are beyond their expertise because they are appointed officials and they are in the judiciary to apply the law, regardless of who gets hurt.
Drilon noted that the practice of the High Court to take on every case is contributing to delay in resolving pending cases.
He cited a June 16 ruling of the SC that voided appointments of five recommendees of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The High Court, Drilon pointed out, came up with the ruling four years after it received that case.