Same Side of the Coin, aka, Noynoy’s Oathtaking!


I was for Senator   Noynoy  Aquino,  though I am in America and during  his campaign  I  have  twice remitted small amount of money through his  Yellow  and  Honest Movement, Inc.     Noynoy and his teammate Sen. Mar Roxas won by wide margin from the U.S.-Pinoy electorate. I could only guess that if half of those who voted for    him last May elections have contributed small  amounts  as  I  do,  his campaign committee  must have  had a sizable amount of campaign money.

But President-elect Benigno  Aquino III is showing a childish  behavior  in his  decision to take his oath of office before  jurist Conchita Carpio Morales, the dissenter in the case of  De Castro v. JBC where the SCORP had ruled that the outgoing President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo can appoint a new Chief Justice despite the 60-day election ban.

I was all in favor of him taking his oath before a low government official, like a Barangay Captain or a City judge, just like Lyndon B. Johnson or other American Presidents did in the past.  It should have been the better part of prudence to take his oath before this humble public official rather than before Justice Morales just so he can dish out a  symbolic rejection of the new Chief Justice.

By now,   Senator Aquino  should understand  that even the perversion by the SCORP of the constitution becomes the law of the land and he truly missed this one legal maxim. 

Taking his oath before a dissenter in the SCORP is rubbing the salt in.  The electorate expect him to act more like a true statesman who can dress the nation’s wounds and unite a contentious and divided nation instead of fanning the flame of division. Taking his oath before a barangay captain is a soft-sell that can be perceived as a  policy directional towards the administration’s effort to exalt the low and humble public servant and avoid the pomp and galore of public rituals where a full   panoply  of  influence  peddlers  and corrupt bureaucrats  have to invariably compete in this momentuous  public stage.

Not being a lawyer,   Noynoy is totally clueless of the inner workings of the SCORP  and  I  can only sympathize with his  petulance.  His attempt at symbolism is a crude form of riding the crest of public rueful disenchantment  over a judicial system which had long been known for judicial prostitutionalism.  If  this is a house of prostitutes, it is screwy to think that one could still find Justice Conchita Morales, a virgin.  This could be a hyperbole, but  my favorite professor describes these jurists as belonging to the same side of the coin!

I wrote my professor’s thought then:

“One of my favorite professors in college was Prof. Perfecto Fernandez when it comes to Constitutional law and not Justice Vicente Mendoza.  And the irony is, Prof. Fernandez is an authority on labor laws while Prof Mendoza is an authority on constitutional law. Prof. Fernandez is physically impaired, but his legal mind is not. He goes to college with a cane and he limps. Professor Mendoza loves to talk Greeks in class, while Prof Fernandez speaks constitutional reality with a great sense of humor.

He said that hard cases have the tendency to unmake the Supreme Court. He made this statement in relation with the case of Executive Secretary vs. Javellana, the infamous ratification cases in 1972 under Mr. Marcos.

I attended college of law in 1974.

On hard cases, he said, the SC would like to play like a discordant symphony playing a cacophony of tunes. One Justice would partially dissent but nonetheless would agree with the result arrived at by the majority; some would dissent on every point raised by the majority while others would simply affirm the majority opinion and each justice would write his thesis displaying his  wisdom or lack of it for future scholars to ponder and think about.

In every decision, a jurist can cite flavorful authorities in support of the issue or against it and all positions have respectable and tenable arguments and sometimes one wonder if the majority opinion was arrived at after serious and conscientious deliberations in a session hall or in chamber by our distinguished jurists, or simply arrived at in a banter over a dice table.

Prof. Fernandez said that at times it is discernible enough that the SC had already made its mind on a particular issue and disposing of it is only a matter of looking for the authorities that support this position rather than closely examining these “positions” or what scholars would love to call “jurisprudence” if they still hold meaning and wisdom in the light of contemporary events.

Sometimes, cases you read would give you an idea that as if the SC have agreed to disagree even before being confronted with the issue they are disagreeing on and the assignment of who will write the majority and minority opinion is a matter of pinpointing which jurist has the profound bias in favor of the majority position and which one has the distaste for it to write the dissenting opinion.”

But believe me ladies and gentlemen, he said, all of them belong to the same side of the coin.

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