Home              Forum              Forex Rate              Archived Editorials              Contact Us


Chief Justice Sereno et al, Speed Up Philippine Courts or Resign

o I guess if you're a Filipino, you're used to waiting forever for everything...especially government services. Unfortunately, the bar is set so low when it comes to government performance, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno and the 14 justices of the Philippine Supreme Courtit is no wonder the Philippines lags behind most countries.

Without getting into the myriad situations where Filipinos have to wait forever for anything to get done, let us concentrate in this editorial solely on the Philippine justice system. One word aptly describes it: SLOW! Glacial might be even more apt.

But why is it so? If other governments can dispense justice in a timely manner, why can't the Philippine judiciary do the same? Filipinos are just as smart and just as resourceful as anyone else from anywhere in the world. Proof of this is one can find Filipinos thriving in most countries of the world. In Asia, Europe, Australia or the Americas, you find migrant Filipinos who are quite successful.

So it isn't a matter of smarts, that's for sure. But the sad fact remains that it can take decades for a case to be resolved. The Ampatuan massacre that occurred back in November of 2009 is still in its preliminary trial stages. Andal Ampatuan Sr. the alleged mastermind has recently passed away without the benefit of either clearing his name (if he was innocent) or punished for his act (if he was guilty). Instead, like most cases in Philippine courts, it lingers in limbo for so long that by the time it is to be resolved, no one really cares anymore. The litigants are either deceased or have moved on with their lives. Many already too old to benefit or be harmed by the judge's ruling.

So why does this travesty persist? The simple answer is because the Philippine Supreme Court allows it to happen. The 15 justices who head the high court allow it to happen. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno and the 14 other justices have simply come to accept that the "wheels of justice" turn slower in the Philippines—much, much slower. As far as the justices are concerned that is the pace at which Philippine justice turns, so that's that. Nothing anyone can do about it. Really?

Anyone with half a legal mind would naturally want to raise the standard of Philippine jurisprudence to bring it up to par with that of most countries. Justice Philippine-style is being dragged through the dirt by this and previous high courts that it has become little more than a joke to everyone concerned.

As we noted in a previous editorial, the Philippines is no longer the cash-starved mendicant state it once was. Thanks to the remittances of overseas Filipinos, the Philippines continues to experience ever-increasing dollar reserves for over two decades now. The country has the funds to significantly expand the judiciary in order to get rid of the backlog and speed up cases. The court can also issue directives and guidelines that frown on and even penalize delaying tactics so widespread in Philippine courts.

Justice delayed is justice denied

Supreme court justices can continue issuing their rulings embellished with flowery legalese. And continue to have their photos taken wearing their flowing black robes with volumes of legal books as their backdrop, but they impress no one. As long as Philippine justice takes forever to resolve cases, those justices only look like the bunch of incompetents they are. They must either fix the system or they must all resign. The Philippines simply cannot move forward if it has a judicial system that isn't working right. Fix the Judiciary and the country takes a giant step forward; keep it as is and the country remains forever backward. The consequences are truly that profound. Published 8/11/2015

You can post your comments below

© 1996 - 2015 PHILNEWS.COM Privacy Policy