A Stable Judicial System is the Bedrock of a Healthy Nation


Last week I've learned from an article at Philippine Star about the P360 million case (Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation versus Keppel Cebu Shipyard Inc) that was decided with finality and an entry of judgment made in November 2010, that case was dubiously reopened in June 2011. The Court en banc surprisingly reviewed the case anew and went on to alter its own final and executory judgment.

If that is not alarming enough, I've read another legal flip-flopping incident by SC in an opinion column entitled, "Flip-flops undermine justice" at Philippine Daily Inquirer [link]. In a nutshell, the column is about the graft case of a Nueva Ecija Mayor who is found guilty by SandiganBayan beyond reasonable doubt, sentenced a prison term of up to ten years, demanding the payment of P4.8 million in damages and disqualifying him permanently from holding public office. This brought the case to the Supreme Court, which affirmed the Sandiganbayan decision and pronounced the verdict as final and executory, recorded the decision in the Book of Entries and Judgments on August 2012, and returned all case files to the Sandiganbayan, which then issued a warrant of arrest against the Mayor.

On November 2012 both the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Governor had the Vice Mayor take her oath of office as Mayor. After a week, the "ex-Mayor" armed with documents showing that the Sandiganbayan had withdrawn the warrant of arrest. There is also a new notice dated October 2012, indicating that the Supreme Court itself wants to hear the case once more, en banc, raising the question of how final and executory its previous decision was.

This is alarming beyond words! This just means that there are really legal flip-flops going around. As far as I remember, a judgment rendered by Supreme Court is final & executory.  If flip-flops can happen to high profile cases here in the Philippines, it can happen to us, common citizens too. What's happening to our judicial system? I wish this will not became the standard in the near future. I'm appealing for a Supreme Court that is just, impartial & fair.

photo from newsinfo.inquirer.net

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