Will SC stand up for the people?

IN A RECENT press briefing, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda has dared the Supreme Court (SC) to show through actions and not merely on rhetoric, that the judiciary is supporting the Aquino administration’s anti-corruption campaign and it is after the upholding of truth and justice.

Lacierda was prompted to issue the challenge after the Palace has noticed that the High Court has become the biggest stumbling block in the government’s drive to initiate reforms by coming out with several controversial rulings that effectively put legal obstacles to its programs.

President Aquno himself made his sentiments known when he said after signing next year’s P1.645 trillion budget that his biggest challenge in initiating true and well-meaning reforms within the government is the judiciary.

While the public is pre-occupied with the rulings of the SC that tend to effectively sideline the efforts of the administration to initiate reforms, the High Court has made yet another decision that is expected to have debilitating effects to the motoring public in particular and the majority of the people in general.

This has something to do with its verdict that allowed the operators of South Luzon Tollways Corp. through the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) to hike toll fees at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) beginning January 2011.

Although it is highly unlikely that the SC would reverse its earlier order, lawyer Ernesto Francisco Jr. nevertheless asked the High Court to stop through a temporary restraining order (TRO) the South Luzon Tollways Corp. (SLTC) from implementing a P3.02 per kilometer initial increase in SLEX.

The Court had already issued a TRO on the case earlier this year, which it lifted after it junked last Oct. 19 the first petition of Francisco along with other similar petitions.

I have always believed that the SC justices are men and women of wisdom and knowledge of all things that pertain to law and jurisprudence.

But aside from knowledge of the law, I understand that they must also have a sense of compassion and deep understanding of what should happen, especially to the ordinary people  in the event that they arrived at a legally correct but morally wrong verdict.

In short, the importance of national and public interests should be the paramount consideration before anything else when issues such as toll rate hikes and similar other socially sensitive matters are discussed and are brought before the SC to be decided.

I would not dare dwell on the legal issues that envelop this case but suffice it to say that it would do SC great favor if it takes a second hard look on the arguments that were raised by Francisco.

Only then that the public would be convinced that the SC is indeed after the welfare and well-being of the general public and it is not out there to protect and serve the interests of a few lucky benefactors.

The ball is now in SC’s hands. The question is, will the SC stand up for the people? Bobby Ricohermoso


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