Supreme Court’s use of judicial restraints sought by legal luminaries

We join the ranks of media persons and legal luminaries in appealing to the Supreme Court not to impose sanctions against University of the Philippines (UP) law professors for their purported violations of the lawyers’ code of conduct.

The Supreme Court ordered them to explain why the issued a scathing statement criticizing Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo and his alleged act of plagiarism and misrepresentation in a  court of decision involving wartime comfort women.

The tribunals “show cause” order to the 37 law professors has drawn strong criticism from the press and legal luminaries, including legislators.

In an expression of support for the law professors, Sen. Francis Pangilinan said it would be better for the High Court to “move on” and consider the matter close.

He said “with all due respect the Supreme Court should learn to choose its battles and, to my mind, this isn’t one of them.

On his part, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez , a former law dean of San Sebastian College of Law said the tribunal’s sanction for UP law professors has chilling effect on law deans and faculty members who would say that they believe to be errors in decisions of Supreme Court.

Former senator Aquilino Pimentel said the right of the people to speak out must not be diminished, while Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas said the justices should not be onion-skinned as to stifle democracy.

Senate Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday cautioned the Supreme Court against getting back at critics of its decisions, particularly UP faculty. “ i would like to respectfully appeal to the Supreme Court to exercise restraint in using its disciplinary hand to exact punishment or retribution from those who disagree with correctness and wisdom of its decision.

Justice Jose Midas Marquez, Supreme Court spokesperson and administrative said all the talk of the show cause “chilling effect” and expression of support for law professors were “premature”.

That being the case, let us pray that concerned parties be more generous in giving more than they can and take less than they need. Professor Fox-Decent and Evan J. Cridelle said the high court’s demand to “show cause” to 37 faculty members of UP College of Law is “abuse of judicial power”.

Meanwhile the authors of one of the works which parts were lifted by  Justice del Castillo in writing a decision on a  suit filed by Filipino wartime “comfort women” seeking an apology and reparation from Japan have come to the defence of UP law professors facing sanction for calling for his resignation.



The filing of petitions with the Supreme Court to declare as unconstitutional three landmark executive orders (EOs) issued by President Benigno Aquino III to reform the government is to be expected.

There are juicy government positions with multi-million peso perks and privileges that are involved here, and the petitioners will not just give them up without a fight.

The latest petition filed with the Supreme Court sought the nullification of Mr. Aquino’s order suspending all allowances, bonuses and incentives of officials of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFs) came from a lawyer of Philippine Health Insurance Corp.(Philhealth) in Butuan City.

In a petition for certiorari and prohibition, Jelbert Galixto asked the high court to declare as unconstitutional Executive Order No. 7 signed by Mr. Aquino recently stopping raises in salary and other benefits of board members, executives and regular employees exempted from the Salary Standardization law.

It was the third time Mr Aquino was challenged before the tribunal for issuing an executive order.

The first case was filled by Arroyo allies in the House against Executive Order No.1 creating the Philippine Truth Commission, a body that will investigate reported massive or large scale graft and corruption committed during the incumbency of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, now a representative of Pampanga.

Rep. Edcel Lagman, et al in asking for executive order’s nullification said the order was  not only unconstitutional and invalid but also “an enterprise in partisan hostility”.

Earlier, Assistant Justice Secretary Jose Arturo de Castro and Subic bay Metropolitan Authority director Eddie Tamondong sought to void  President Aquino’s Executive orders No.2 and No. 5.

They both questioned EO2, which revoked the so-called midnight appointments of Mrs. Arroyo, while de Castro alone opposed EO 5 that rescinded Mrs. Arroyo’s EO 883, which automatically gave government lawyers he rank of career executive service officer (CESO) III.



It never happened at anytime in our history the failure to hold barangay and sangguniang kabataan (SK) elections Monday, Oct. 23 in 1.732 out 42,025 barangays around the country prompting President Aquino to express his dismay.

In an attempt to cushion the impact of what happened, and perhaps to hide the lack of preparation by the poll body. Commissioner Rene Sarmiento of the Commission of Election described the elections as “generally peaceful” and balloting pushed through in 90 percent of precincts in at least 12 regions.

But, no amount of beautiful words could hide the facts that, the honourable commissioners and their chairman, Jose Melo, were caught with their pants down, if not sleeping on their jobs.

Newspaper reports has it that delayed deliveries of voting materials and other glitches forced the resetting of polls in 4.12 percent of the total 42.025 villages across the country.

Comelec officials owed it to the people a more detailed report on delayed preparations and other glitches. By simply blaming the Bureau of Printing (NPO) for “not performing up to par because printing presses are not very modern would not suffice. There were no delays in previous elections with the same or even less modern printing presses were used.

As we tried to beat the deadline, the Commission on Election (Comelec) created a fact finding committee to look into “sabotage” angle in the delay in the delivery of election paraphernalia for the barangay and SK polls. People expect maximum punishment be meted out  against those who shall be found guilty of sabotage, if not criminal negligence. Cornelio de Guzman

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