Seldom does the Supreme Court (SC) decide a big case with no one coming away crying.
With all due respect, the RH ruling of the SC released last Tuesday, but leaked earlier by an unprofessional Supreme Court organization or staff, to an enterprising newsman—kudos—arguably decided exactly nothing. And therefore did not displease both sides in the process. Neither is wailing, no one having really lost.
Nothing, in my humble view, because there was no actual case or controversy deciding for or against any real party in interest directly affected—to decide.
The SC simply flew with wings of fantasy; it imagined itself as a Super-Congress reviewing an ENTIRE statute enacted by the elected, whom the unelected arguably needlessly shamed as constitutional naifs or ignoramuses.
Who was the litigant directly negatively affected? Apparently no one, on the basis of press reports; when a real flesh-and-blood party goes to court in an entertainable case with a concrete factual background, the Supreme Court will have to study the facts, as well as details–where the devil is–nuances and equities.
Ponente Bambit Mendoza (with two priests as brothers but he is his own man), as well as his colleagues, has something for everyone in an arguably politically astute ponencia. No one is weeping.
The Catholic Church does not appear a loser. Cheshire cat smile.
I look at Tuesday’s ruling as a set of advisory opinions to be recast and refined when an actual case with a real party gets to the SC, and the issue of constitutionality of a specific issue cannot then be avoided.
That is our hallowed institutional arrangement until this Supreme Court decided to review the anti-terrorism (R.A. No. 10168) and cybercrime (10175) statutes en toto, as a self-proclaimed Super-Legislature.
Someone in the unelected SC should counsel judicial restraint.
No one can use Tuesday’s ruling in a future case. If cited there, some Justice might mischievously ask what are the facts in it. Imagine someone saying that in that non-case there was no actual controversy of real parties. The advocate would have to say the SC, meaning Super-Congress, took on an entire statute and reviewed it, not its task. An unelected justice is supposed to decide actual specific cases, not review wholesale what the elected Congress and Malacañang have done.
Holmes warned: General propositions do not decide concrete cases-, often distinguishable, not in all-fours. Out of prudential considerations, the SC should await a concrete case before going constitutional (guided by the wisdom of a new day).
The SC may be doing that in reportedly setting for orals—now reportedly cancelled? – the pork barrel petition of Bong (as in MandaramBONG Revilla, with a moist eye on the presidency, along with MandaramBONGBONG, as alleged; all presumed innocent). If the petition sans orals fails, I am not for confining nonagenarian
JPE in some dinghy jail where one goes in a human being and comes out a brute.
Where one may be detained is solely a court’s call. One should read the edifying Separate Opinion of Justice Ricardo N. Ilarde dated June 8, 2001, quoting Fr. Joaquin Bernas.
So House, Housewife, Resthouse, Barangay, City, Metro Manila, or Senate arrest, is legally in the cards.
JPE is 90 and not a likely flight risk. A Metro-Manila-Cagayan arrest is something to talk about along with a Metro-Manila-Pampanga arrest for GMA. For them to be fugitives would bury them in history.
JPE cannot be convicted with finality in the next decade, anyway, given the complexities and number of parties in the case. The simple frat hazing killing of Lenny Aquila on February 11, 1991, is still pending in the Supreme Court, which has no time for it. The press has long lost interest in it.
So, my client, Zos Mendoza, thrice acquitted, remains anxious.
Anyway, JPE, GMA, Bong, Jinggoy, Gigi, et al. are being punished far beyond what any court can impose.
JPE has been a vida-contravida, a bundle of contradictions, and he may go out negatively. Yet, he might be a bona fide WW II hero.
The other day we marked Araw ng Kagitingan. I recalled Holmes on the virtues of the Unknown Soldier, who throws away his life in obedience to a blindly accepted duty, in a cause he little understands, etc.. I was at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LMB) the other day and saw row upon row of our dead heroes, including my pa-in-law I never met.
Outside our clan, Col. Ponching Quintans, who survived Bataan and the Death March, may well be an Unknown Soldier, the type who so impressed Winston Churchill in WW II that he described the Filipino warrior as the finest in the world.
JPE fought the Japanese. I recalled the father of Bedan contemporaries Jesse and Jimmy Dinglasan (Vicente, Sr., a UP engineering alum, survived Bataan, the Death March and Capas but got killed by the Japanese just before Liberation, thanks to a Makapili).
I got a ton of emails naming so many others, Adiarte, D. Garcia, Tiamson, Navas, Samala, Baclig, Javier, et al. All magigiting who deserve a memorial containing all their names.
But, we all much prefer peace. I don’t want my apos, eldest five and a half, if I had a choice or say, joining their Super Lolo Ponching in the LMB. No more wars sana.
Their Lola Dulce and I opposed Prez-elect Erap’s and Gen. Abat’s June 1998 announcement that their cockamamie priority was to move Macoy to the LMB. Dulce said on national TV that she would consult her nuke family on whether to pull out their Pa’s remains and move same to join Mommy Pacing in Manila Memorial. Sonny Alvarez and I led the first rally ever against new Prez Erap, my 1992 eletion client, in Mendiola.
Today, I have mellowed. Why not just change the name to Libingan ng mga Bayani At Iba Pa?