Sun.Star Pampanga - - BUSI­NESS! -

Yes, we long for those great de­bates in the chan­de­liered cham­bers of the Old Congress — the great de­bates in which elo­quent or­a­tors were able to present their cases and carry the day through the sheer force of their ar­gu­ments— no longer take place. The likes of Tanada, Recto, Dio­kno, Mangla­pus, Ma­ca­pa­gal, Aquino, and Kalaw are sim­ply not re-echoed.

The Supreme Court is, of course, the in­sti­tu­tion fur­ther re­moved from pop­u­lar Con­trol— that is to say be­ing above pol­i­tics and bribery as orig­i­nally con­ceived. But in re­cent times, in nu­mer­ous cases, it is seen to be act­ing ar­bi­trar­ily or pre­cip­i­tously or with un­usual de­lay in re­solv­ing cases far be­yond the lim­its of prece­dent or com­mon sense of jus­tice. In so do­ing, it has not only for­feited a sub­stan­tial de­gree of pop­u­lar sup­port and re­spect. And so, it has weak­ened the per­cep­tion that ours is a gov­ern­ment by con­sen­sus— of in­sti­tu­tional con­sen­sus rep­re­sented by a Con­sti­tu­tion that can only be mod­i­fied through amenda­tory process. One mea­sur­able con­se­quence of Ju­di­cial in­dis­cre­tion of the past two decades is that the high Court’s dock­ets is now per­pet­u­ally clogged which nat­u­rally bear a dis­tress­ing im­pact on the ev­ery­day lives of com­mon cit­i­zens. It is time that our ju­di­cial sys­tem re­dis­cover the virtues of ju­di­cial re­straint to en­able it to re­visit that en­light­ened com­mon sense that once en­abled us to strike the ap­pro­pri­ate bal­ance be­tween pri­vate rights and pub­lic and to ap­pre­ci­ate the lim­its of gov­ern­men­tal power in a free so­ci­ety.

Yet, ul­ti­mately, the doc­trine of checks and bal­ances, more than its in­tend­ment to the three branches of gov­ern­ment, finds com­pelling friend­ship to those of us who have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to do some­thing about lim­it­ing, if not to­tally elim­i­nat­ing, the op­por­tu­ni­ties of those in gov­ern­ment to use the co­er­cive power of the state to the detri­ment of the very peo­ple who em­pow­ered them.

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