LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves…” (Romans 13:1-2, the Holy Bible).
POINTERS ON HOW TO UNDERSTAND SC POE DECISION: The explanation as to how or why the Supreme Court voted 9-6 in favor of Sen. Grace Poe’s presidential candidacy is yet to come, but there are certain points that should be understood now by our people on how the tribunal decides the cases that are brought before it.
First, the Supreme Court is a collegial body. Its decisions and verdicts are dictated by the justices who comprise the majority in any given case or issue, which is to say, any case or issue which is brought before them will be decided according to the view that is supported by a bigger number, or by the majority, of the justices.
More importantly, whatever the bigger number of justices say on any particular matter, even if many lawyers would later on contradict them, becomes a part of the law of the land and is required to be obeyed by all citizens, whether in government or in the private sector. In effect, the Supreme Court is infallible in its decisions, because it must be obeyed at all times.
SC BECAME MORE POWERFUL UNDER 1987 CHARTER: This right of the Supreme Court to pronounce a judgment on the cases brought before it is long recognized here and abroad. Under the 1987 Constitution, the tribunal alone, together with the courts under it, is vested with judicial power. And this power extends not only to settling cases and disputes.
Under an innovation introduced in the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court was made more powerful that its 1973 counterpart because it has also been given the power to look into act of any government official or agency, and say whether the official or the agency committed abuse in the discharge of their duties and responsibilities and in the exercise of their powers and responsibilities.
In 1936, the Supreme Court itself, in deciding a case entitled “Angara vs. Electoral Commission”, G.R. No. L-45081, July 15, 1936, justified this power of the Supreme Court to adjudicate disputes and controversies by and among citizens and other entities by saying that under the Constitution at that time, it is only the Supreme Court which has been given the authority to resolve legal and judicial cases.
WE MUST ACCEPT WHAT THE SC SAID IN POE CASE: It would do well, therefore, for those who feel aggrieved by any decision or resolution of the Supreme Court to simply accept what the high tribunal issued as its ruling. This is the system that the Philippine Constitution has established, and it is the system that all of us must obey.
Of course, agitated litigants or interested third parties may pursue the filing of a motion for reconsideration or, if one is powerful enough as President Aquino has shown at the start of his term, impeach the chief justice or the other justices of the court who decided adversely against his interest. At the end of the day, however, the system remains the same—the Supreme Court must be obeyed.
Obedience to the tribunal is not only the legal—and therefore the most logical—way of doing things. It is even the most spiritual, considering the dictates of the Bible that each and every citizen must subject themselves to the governing authorities, because there is no authority that was not established by God. We have also been told that anyone who fights the authorities is fighting God Himself, and would suffer punishments.
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