I AM certainly not a lawyer and much less remotely connected with the judiciary and actually have no objections or even comments on their latest judgment that ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has nothing to answer for in the case of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes fund transfer or allocation or re-aligning, whatever that was.
But as a taxpayer and a Filipino citizen, I do question the timing of the ruling, late in the day, after four years of arrest, with no reply or action to all the petitions of the respondent to act on it.
What took so long? Justice deaf or late is justice denied. Then uncharacteristically under a new administration, it suddenly comes awake and comes down with a decision with unheard of speed of less than a month. What made them decide so fast?
The circumstances are much to be lamented. Is there someone or something of his own making pulling strings on the Supreme Court? Are they motivated by other factors rather than what is on the surface, a respondent filing a plea with no answer for four years while in effect deprived of liberty? Impressions may be just that but they form opinions and attitudes.
From appearances and the pace of court decisions and judgments, there are many other cases like the above, languishing and, therefore, suffering the consequences of being in limbo or in jail.
If change is really to come for the better, the justice system in this country cries out for it as priority in its area of responsibility. And if the Supreme Court is the independent body overseeing an independent judiciary, it should set the example. No reassuring statements about rules and regulations they give to their constituency of courts and judges will be enough. They have to pick up speed even if it means working harder and longer hours, use state-of-the-art technology, and better management to set the example. If they are doing so now or claim that they do, we do not see or feel the results.
Other delays regarding the ruling on contraceptives that will push forward the population planning law, which this country needs to have had from decades back, are somewhere we have no idea about. To the detriment of national interest, the stoppage order on the means to implement the law remains with no decision or action or even attention evident to resolve it.
I can see where all the electoral cases will come down to, the last day of the term of the person occupying the office if the ruling is for the protestant. Has it not just happened in the last Congress when on the last day one case was decided and the aggrieved party didn’t even have his seat on the last day due to a technicality in delivering the decision? In fact, it is virtually a tradition. It may not be the Supreme Court in that case but it was the justice system that it supervises, be it through the Electoral Tribunal or the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
I am probably not accurately pinpointing the correct entities or understanding the convoluted process that judicial decisions involve, but I am certainly accurate in saying the results of delay and inattention, the weird timing of decisions like the one on the ex-President leave much to complain about. Ordinary people demand the genuine feel of justice as they understand it. We cannot be dismissed as ignorant or misled when we decry the delay from the courts, which for many is a matter of life and death.