Brian C. Ventura

my personal homepage

Soc. Sci. 2 Article for Discussion C-The Philippine Supreme Court

Posted by Brian C. Ventura on October 12, 2011

This is a report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer Online. The original article can be accessed here.

———————————————————-

Supreme Court under fire over recall

High court ‘teetering on the abyss of incredulity’

By 

12:22 am | Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Brickbats fell on the Supreme Court Tuesday from its two coequal branches, after the high tribunal recalled a supposedly final decision on a plea by letter writer Estelito Mendoza.

Fearing a reversal of fortune, the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (Fasap) urged the court to explain the “compelling reason” behind the recall on October 4 of its ruling reinstating 1,400 of its members after a 13-year legal battle against Philippine Airlines (PAL).

The court’s spokesperson, Midas Marquez, said on Monday the ruling should have been handled by the Special Third Division instead of the Second Division, a technicality which he said was pointed out in a letter by Mendoza, PAL’s blue chip lawyer.

“I think the Supreme Court owes us an apology for this shameful act,” Fasap spokesperson Dennis Ortiz said during a protest action outside the tribunal by scores of employees wearing black armbands who were sacked by PAL after a strike in 1998.

“What compelling reason justified the Supreme Court recall?” Fasap said in a statement, pointing out that the Constitution provides that “no decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.”

Annabelle Lesaca, one of the dismissed employees, said she could not help but think that PAL owner Lucio Tan had “already bought the entire Philippines.”

The Supreme Court must be sure not to make the same mistake again if ever this time the technicality was overlooked,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters. He described the ruling as “something out of the ordinary.”

Internal rules violated

Senator Miriam Santiago, a former Quezon City judge, called the reversal “extremely unfortunate,” pointing out that the tribunal apparently violated its own internal rules.

In an ambush interview, Santiago warned the court was “teetering on the abyss of incredulity” for acting in favor of PAL after receiving a “mere” letter from Mendoza.

“According to the internal rules of the SC, no second motion can be filed without prior permission from the Court. First, one has to file a motion pleading with the Court to allow the filing of a second motion. Only then can one file a second motion for reconsideration. Was there an order by the SC allowing the second motion? It was not even a motion but a mere letter,” she noted.

The court’s internal rules, Santiago said, dictate that there shall be no second motion “except when the original decision is legally erroneous, patently unjust or will probably result in irreparable damage or injury.”

“I am angry because I fear citizens would turn (their) back against the bulwark of civil liberty.  It would be impossible to regain it once it loses it this instant,” she fumed.

 

Flip-flopping

Senator Franklin Drilon said the recall of the decision was not surprising because the court had also “flip-flopped” in decisions giving 16 towns the status of cities.

“There was already an entry of judgment yet the court also reconsidered and had a new decision. I am no longer surprised at the rate it is flip-flopping,” said Drilon, a former justice secretary.

Senator Francis Pangilinan warned that the reversal could result in a serious backlash against the tribunal.

“The ruling is a cause for serious concern.  Regardless of the parties involved and the arguments given, the public perception it creates casts doubt on the image and reputation of the SC as a court of last resort and a bulwark of democracy,” he explained.

“How can the public know for certain that a case will be decided with finality when its decisions can so quickly be recalled? The uncertainty it brings is a cause for concern especially for countless of petitioners who have pending cases before the highest court of the land,” Pangilinan said.

Court of injustice

Anakpawis Representative Rafael Mariano said this latest court decision was “highly condemnable.”

He said it showed a pattern of successive antifarmer and antiworker decisions favoring business tycoons like Lucio Tan, Eduardo, “Danding” Cojuangco and the Cojuangco-Aquinos.

Mariano noted that the decision on the PAL cases followed the loss of workers in the coconut levy case and the Hacienda Luisita agrarian dispute.

“What happened to (the saying that) ‘those who have less in life should have more in law?’” Mariano asked.

He said the high tribunal was fast becoming the “high court of injustice” with the series of antipeople rulings it had issued on high profile cases of national concern.

“In the hierarchy of employees’ rights, the right to security of tenure is high, if not the highest. The paramount value of that right is recognized and guaranteed under the 1987 Constitution. The other complementary rights are meaningless to an unemployed worker,” he stressed.

Nothing to explain

Sought for comment, Marquez said: “I’ve explained everything there is to explain regarding the issue at this time. I don’t see the necessity to react to that anymore.”

Lucio Tan and his companies have been getting favorable decisions in its legal battles.

Last month, the Court of Appeals allowed PAL to proceed with its P730-million damage suit against its former pilots who staged a labor strike that crippled the flag carrier’s operations in June 1998.

On September 29, the National Labor Relations Commission junked the unfair labor practice case filed by the flag carrier’s ground crew union in connection with the airline’s alleged refusal to start negotiation for a new collective bargaining agreement early this year.

Last week, the appellate court awarded P68 million to Tan’s Asia Brewery Inc. regarding the damage suit it had filed against rival San Miguel Corp.

The appeals court also granted PAL’s petition questioning the excise tax levied by the Bureau on Internal Revenue on its imported jet fuel.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court approved the P491-million tax refund claim of Fortune Tobacco Corp., also a member of Lucio Tan Group of Companies.

With reports from Norman Bordadora, Cynthia D. Balana and Tina G. Santos

—————————————

Questions for discussion

A. Examine the action of the Philippine Supreme Court in relation to the role of the judiciary according to Locke.

See if, based on the action of the court criticized in the article,  the inconveniences in the state of nature that is supposed to be solved still remain. For example, does it interpret the law in a way that uncertainties experienced by the people in the state of nature are resolved?

B. You may also comment on the article from the perspective of Karl Marx.

What does the action of the court say about the relationships of large businesses, the law and the workers in the society?

 

 

Advertisements

15 Responses to “Soc. Sci. 2 Article for Discussion C-The Philippine Supreme Court”

  1. Elecca Placer - BA Psychology I said

    According to Locke, after society is set up by social contract, government is established, not by a contract but by a fiduciary trust. The judiciary is the impartial or clear judge, the executive, the one responsible for enforcing the laws and the people that are above the executive and the judiciary. On the article, the inconveniences in the state of nature that is supposed to be solved still remain. In the case of PAL against its former employees that filed an appeal justifies that there is no clear law imposed by the Supreme Court between them. Men are naturally biased by their interests and confound their interests as the general rules of law. Since both sides have their own reasons, their argument will never be settled, based on Locke. Moreover, the lack of partial judge in the trial between Lucio Tan and his companies and individuals who file a case against them is present. Even the tribunal who suppose to inflict a just judgment seems to have taken sides with the influential business tycoon. Lastly, in the state of nature the injured party is not always strong enough to execute the just sentence of the law.

    • “Moreover, the lack of partial judge in the trial between Lucio Tan and his companies and individuals who file a case against them is present.”

      >> Just to point out a correction, if you are referring to the lack of unbiased justices, the term should be IMPARTIAL. Being a partial judge in a trial shows ‘unjust’ favor for a certain party/ies involved without truly understanding/ considering the profundity and accuracy of qualified arguments and proofs (as basis for a fair judgment).

      • Elecca Placer BA-Psychology said

        I admit my mistake. It should be “impartial”. Thank you for the correction.

  2. Joanna Patricia Angeli Lu said

    The Supreme Court appears to have failed in responding with John Locke’s view on the judiciary. Though he may have not provided for a concrete, separate judicial power (aside from the ‘executive’, ‘legislative’ and ‘federative’), Locke called for an impartial government–as a result of men’s creation of a social contract–that puts every individual’s concern into account to balance guidelines and settle grievances or opposing arguments/ reasons.

    The recent ‘flip-flopping’ of decisions by the high court implicitly shows how bias can alter the supposed-to-be unprejudiced rulings; undermining the use and interpretation of reason as basis for judgment. Also, it shows the flexibility of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of legislation and directives that may threaten the stability of our judicial system. And besides, how can the highest court of justice in the country overlook a simple error–when in fact they should be the ‘legal know-hows’?

    These inconveniences show the lapses even in the state of nature that (though should be answered by the formulation of a ‘social contract’) are still present today.

  3. Augil Marie Robles BA Psychology I said

    The form of government established by Mr. Locke was clearly based on trust. This means that as soon as it fails to serve it’s purpose, which is to formulate laws, properly execute them, and provide an impartial judgement free from biases and based purely on the laws, then the people have the right to withdraw their rights and not anymore subject themselves to the government.
    Based on this article, it is very obvious that the Supreme Court has failed to satisfy the conditions for which the judiciary branch was created according to Locke. Instead of giving firm and unbiased decisions, the Supreme Court has proven itself to be more favorable to the influential people in the society. It has also failed to make firm and absolute decisions and such can be seen in the way that it has “flip-flopped” and withdrawn from one judgement to another.
    Under these circumstances, we can clearly say that the Supreme Court’s judgments cannot be trusted for we cannot be sure whether the decisions they make are purely based on the laws, or if they are influenced by other external factors which corrupt the idea of a fair and impartial justice system.

  4. Ma. Victoria N. Nortiga said

    Locke emphasized that men’s life, liberty and estate must be preserved and that the government was established in order to carry out this preservation. Branches of government exist in order to establish clear laws, impartial judge, strong enforcement mechanism, must look forward for the betterment of all, and favor majority’s sake. Supreme Court in line with the judiciary branch was expected to be unbiased in adjudicating debaucheries and depravities; however recently, the process of its decision making is being influenced by the emerging large names in the industry.

    Recalling its “supposedly final decision” which apparently violated its internal rules just because of a mere letter from a lawyer of an influential group of companies depicts how our Supreme Court becomes impartial. The inconvenience being experienced by Fasap, if related to Locke’s ideology must resort to the infliction of punishment to the oppressor. But it appears that the SC shows motives in favoring the more influential one, the PAL. Where is justice if this is the case? With SC’s attitude, the oppressed are becoming more oppressed and the judiciary opens a gateway for greater inconveniences, so contrary to its main role which is to resolve such and sentence the oppressor.

    In Marx’ perspective, it is so true that the bourgeoisie, being the owner of the means of production dominates the society. Hitherto, its influential character could be visibly determined not only in the economic phase but also along the lines of magistrates and tribunals. Their pleas are always being heard. What will happen to our country if the government which the masses consider as a primary medium in procuring justice will continue to side with the advancing class? When will the pyramid of classes be inverted? When will it listen to the cries of down-trodden proletariats?

  5. Christine Anne D. Espeja said

    In accordance to Locke’s establishment of society, impartial judge is there to enforce law to the people attaining order and security in the state. If impartial judge is lacking, then it creates inconveniences to the society by arousing public doubt and losing of trust to the justice system which may lead to distress in the society.

    In the Supreme Court’s “flip-flopping” decision, it may cause people to doubt the integrity of our justice system just because of a letter from the PAL saying that there was a technicality on the part of the Supreme Court.

    In this case, there is no assurance that every judgment of the Supreme Court is correct with finality and also assurance that they can give right judgments to other pending cases. Instead of resolving the inconveniences in the state of nature, it only created a greater one which is vulnerability of small groups or individuals being oppressed to more oppression.

  6. Joefritz Varon said

    (Marx’s view)
    My comment on this article is based on Marx’s view. Karl Marx once said that there will always be class struggles that will exist between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. As we can see in the article, there is a fiery battle between the FASAP (workers) and the PAL owners (capitalist), this is also a clear proof what Marx said about class struggles; on this case the workers want to have their jobs back but the capitalists would not want to do so .
    The court’s action on recalling their supposedly final decision on the legal battle shows the relationship of large businesses with the law and also with the workers. Blatantly, the law seems to favor huge businesses over the little workers, and I am just wondering how the Supreme Court, which is the highest court of the land, could easily withdraw their decisions and overlooked petty technical errors. I am also afraid to face the fact that the judicial system of the Philippines is little by little dominated and controlled by the wealthy class. This also implies what Marx said that the capitalists will continually be antagonistic towards the workers and they will used everything (influence, money etc.) even up to the point of dominating the highest tribunal, just to gain more and left the workers with less. The battle/struggles of the capitalists and workers will never end, but it should be regulated by the government and one way is through having a fair law and nearly impartial adjudicators. But today, in the view of what the SC is doing, it seems that we are lacking impartial and firm judges and of workers will always be the helpless victim.

    JOEFRITZ VARON ( TF 1:00-2:30) SEC 2

  7. Joefritz Varon said

    Locke’s view

    Judiciary is the system of law courts that administer justice and composes the judicial branch of the government.

    Locke once said that one cause of inconveniences is lack of impartial judge, and it is related with inconvenience felt by the FASAP (workers) as stated on the article. The Supreme Court‘s recall of its decision about the legal battle between FASAP and PAL proved to be partial and favors the huge business. The decision has been recalled because Tan’s lawyer sent a letter of appeal and nothing else, nothing more compelling and important reason to recall apart from that. Evidently, the inconveniences still persist such as the people still waiting for a fortunate decision from the court, people looking forward to punish the real culprit in the case etc. all of these inconveniences rooted from lacking an impartial judge and it was not resolved.
    In the end, I can say that the people cannot attain the fullness of their liberty due to the inconveniences brought about by lacking an impartial judge.

    JOEFRITZ VARON ( TF 1:00-2:30) SEC 2

  8. Fydah Marie B. Sabando said

    A. From Locke’s View:

    Locke makes it clear that when there is no clear and certain objective determination of a question, the only way to settle it is by a commonly accepted convention, having a legitimate means to settle the question.

    On the article, we can say it was the Supreme Court who is to remedy for the uncertainty. The need for an impartial judge to deliberate the truth and provision equality for all was one of the answers Locke also reflected in his views to resolve the inconveniences the society goes through.

    All along we might have believed that the Supreme Court’s judgments purport to be impartial. However upon reading this article, the mere biases they have been doing about were clearly implied. The SC reversed their earlier decision (thought to be as the final decision) so quickly just because of receiving a letter and acclaiming trivial errors. Will this already be a cause for them to favor the larger business, when they were at most expected to rationalize their grounds for justice among the two parties (FASAP and PAL), especially to the many oppressed petitioners involved? I don’t think so. They have not only created a scheme of injustice for the people to look at, but more oppression for the burdened petitioners.

    This action of SC creates the inconvenience for the people to put at stake their right to be served justice when the ones they have submitted to that responsibility regarded doubtful preference over justice.

    Rational bearing requires unprejudiced consideration of the arguments and evidences presented in the issue. I hope this is what the SC should realize on the decisions they are going to make for finality so that they could avert with what Mr. Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis Representative) had said that SC is becoming the “high court of injustice” and win back the trust of the Filipinos. Because evidently, the inconvenience in this situation will not be resolved as long as there is an impartial decision-making present.

    -Fydah Marie Sabando TF 11:30-1:00

  9. Fydah Marie B. Sabando said

    A. From Locke’s View:

    Locke makes it clear that when there is no clear and certain objective determination of a question, the only way to settle it is by a commonly accepted convention, having a legitimate means to settle the question.

    On the article, we can say it was the Supreme Court who is to remedy for the uncertainty. The need for an impartial judge to deliberate the truth and provision equality for all was one of the answers Locke also reflected in his views to resolve the inconveniences the society goes through.

    All along we might have believed that the Supreme Court’s judgments purport to be impartial. However upon reading this article, the mere biases they have been doing about were clearly implied. The SC reversed their earlier decision (thought to be as the final decision) so quickly just because of receiving a letter and acclaiming trivial errors. Will this already be a cause for them to favor the larger business, when they were at most expected to rationalize their grounds for justice among the two parties (FASAP and PAL), especially to the many oppressed petitioners involved? I don’t think so. They have not only created a scheme of injustice for the people to look at, but more oppression for the burdened petitioners.

    This action of SC creates the inconvenience for the people to put at stake their right to be served justice when the ones they have submitted to that responsibility regarded doubtful preference over justice.

    Rational bearing requires unprejudiced consideration of the arguments and evidences presented in the issue. I hope this is what the SC should realize on the decisions they are going to make for finality so that they could avert with what Mr. Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis Representative) had said that SC is becoming the “high court of injustice” and win back the trust of the Filipinos. Because evidently, the inconvenience in this situation will not be resolved as long as there is an impartial decision-making present.

    -Fydah Marie Sabando TF 11:30-1:00

  10. Doreen Joy Sorolla said

    The judiciary branch interprets the laws made by the legislative branch. However, in this article, the judiciary branch does not seem to be performing its function well. Locke stated that the lack of unbiased judge is one of the inconveniences in the state of nature that must be resolved, or else it would lead to the state of war. It is undeniable though that every individual, even those in the judiciary branch, have reasons driven by their own interests. But as the judges trusted by the people, these interests should be put aside in order to avoid the possibility of having this state of war. The people in the court seem to be biased in favour of Tan, who seemed to be more powerful than the 1400 members of Fasap.

  11. Aljon Rey P. Catedrilla BS Economics 1 said

    The aim of the government based on Locke’s Social Contract is to preserved every rights that its citizens have. It seems that the government especially the judiciary failed to protect the rights of its subjects because they were experiencing an inconvenience which is stated on Locke’s Social contract, the lack of impartial judge. It shows how illegitimate our government is, instead of protecting the rights of its subjects they were violating it. As long as there is no agreement between FASAP and the government, there would be still a problem regarding on the violation of the rights of those people (FASAP) who think their rights were violated by those who dominates them (PAL). It shows how biased man is when it comes to his personal interests.

    This problem shows that the inconveniences in the state of nature in Locke’s Social Contract still remain in the present society.

  12. Ena Dominique Villarete said

    According to Locke, the government was formed to protect the three most important rights of the people – life, liberty, property. However, based on this recent news involving the Supreme Court, it seems that the government has violated its own laws. The court is supposed to exists for the purpose of impartial judgment, but what they show to the people is a clear manifestation of how bias justice is in the Philippines.

    The Supreme Court allows itself to be influenced by capitalists. It appears like justice for the masses is being traded in exchange for the fulfillment of personal interests. Do you think they would recall their allegedly final decision if the letter came from the laborers? I don’t think they would. Our justice system is getting highly commercialized that they are willing to sell justice in order to compete in this capitalist world.

    The rights of the people have been violated and it has been done by the very same government that was supposed to protect them. The Senators are right in saying that this reversal of decision could drive people to counterattack and turn their backs on the court of law, because the citizens are now free to rebel against the Supreme Court.

  13. Fydah Marie B. Sabando said

    this is what i posted sir,

    A. From Locke’s View:

    Locke makes it clear that when there is no clear and certain objective determination of a question, the only way to settle it is by a commonly accepted convention, having a legitimate means to settle the question.

    On the article, we can say it was the Supreme Court who is to remedy for the uncertainty. The need for an impartial judge to deliberate the truth and provision equality for all was one of the answers Locke also reflected in his views to resolve the inconveniences the society goes through.

    All along we might have believed that the Supreme Court’s judgments purport to be impartial. However upon reading this article, the mere biases they have been doing about were clearly implied. The SC reversed their earlier decision (thought to be as the final decision) so quickly just because of receiving a letter and acclaiming trivial errors. Will this already be a cause for them to favor the larger business, when they were at most expected to rationalize their grounds for justice among the two parties (FASAP and PAL), especially to the many oppressed petitioners involved? I don’t think so. They have not only created a scheme of injustice for the people to look at, but more oppression for the burdened petitioners.

    This action of SC creates the inconvenience for the people to put at stake their right to be served justice when the ones they have submitted to that responsibility regarded doubtful preference over justice.

    Rational bearing requires unprejudiced consideration of the arguments and evidences presented in the issue. I hope this is what the SC should realize on the decisions they are going to make for finality so that they could avert with what Mr. Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis Representative) had said that SC is becoming the “high court of injustice” and win back the trust of the Filipinos. Because evidently, the inconvenience in this situation will not be resolved as long as there is an impartial decision-making present.

    -Fydah Marie Sabando TF 11:30-1:00

    thank you so much sir.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: