A Misfortune case!(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Manila Bulletin, September 30, 2002 | Go to article overview

A Misfortune case!(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)


(Editors note: Coffee shops have regular guests with views useful to intelligent discussion as featured in this article.)

MOST coffee shops in cities and capital towns attract regular guests who express useful views that are easily understood by ordinary minds.

One such guest, a retired educator, gives his comment on our politicians' long opinions that the Supreme Court decision denying bail to a congressman, who is reportedly wanted in the US, could ripen into a constitutional crisis.

Personal opinion

His view: "The Supreme Court, acting within its power under the Constitution, does not create a problem that can trigger a crisis. The so-called crisis we read about is the view, yes personal opinion, of two to five congressmen. The five or even 50 congressmen are not vested with legislative power or authority. This power is exercised collectively by the 24 members of the Senate and 220 or more members of the House. The Constitution also reserves to the people certain powers under the provision on initiative and referendum."

He added that a decision promulgated by the Supreme Court en banc on a specific subject is called case law, which is as authoritative as any statute passed by the legislature. It can be superseded by a new legislation or Court decision.

A lawyer who appears in court is not asked by the presiding judge to produce his law school and Supreme Court certificates to support his practice of the profession.

As guests nodded and whispered their appreciation even Bossing concedes that such a useful lecture could come only from an educator who is also a lawyer.

As he raised his hand to get his check one regular looked at him in gratitude and with a sign that his view on the subject was worth several cups of good coffee. He said, "thanks" and added: "The personal problem or misfortune of one solon cannot be adopted as the collective burden of both the Senate and the House. To do otherwise is to invite and create endless situations that could be injudiciously called constitutional crisis cases."

The 10 or more guests near the educator's table clapped their hands in appreciation. He stood up and left quietly.

House stalwarts in 1950s

The retired prosecutor was in a huddle with his own barkada. Then he recalled our Congress in the 1950s and the stalwarts in the Senate and the House.

"If this case was considered in the House then we could count on two statesmen known for their independence of mind and scholarship. …

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