The wheels of justice should never stop for anyone. In our country, however, past events have raised doubts that there could be times when the wheels do not exactly turn in the right direction. You might have already heard about the flip-flopping of the Supreme Court in their decision on the Keppel Cebu Shipyard – Pioneer Insurance and Surety liability claim case. A lot of people are not surprised that there are other cases like this where decisions declared to be final and executory by the Supreme Court were eventually overturned by the same judicial body.
In yet another case, the Supreme Court seemed to have flip-flopped on what was supposedly a final and executory decision when it decided to reopen the graft case against Munoz, Nueva Ecija mayor, Efren Alvarez. The long process that spanned over six years was a series of hearings and deliberations that eventually led to guilty verdicts from the Sandigan Bayan right up to the Supreme Court. The highest court finally pronounced the decision as final and executory, entered the decision in their court logs, and left the Sandigan Bayan to order the arrest of Alvarez. Alvarez eluded arrest. After the Department of Interior and Local Government appointed the vice mayor into the mayor’s office, Alvarez made an appearance with a document that says that the warrant of arrest against him has been withdrawn and that the Supreme Court is reopening his case. What took the Supreme Court over half a decade to decide on, took the same body only a couple of months to flip-flop on.
To err is human, as the saying goes. Some would argue that the Supreme Court is composed of humans who are naturally prone to mistakes. This perspective is what distorts what this judicial body is supposed to be. In this land, and in other lands as well, the Supreme Court is the highest ruling body that should dispense appropriate and proportional action for an injustice committed by a person or entity. If everyone were to accept the errors that they commit in their judgement, what value do their decisions hold? If everyone were to accept the human nature perspective, what then would prevent justices from handing down half-baked verdicts just to keep the cases from piling up in their court?
The Supreme Court is a collective body that should hold the respect and recognition of the entire nation. It is in this body where the faith of the people reside, believing that their rights will be protected at all times. When their rights are trampled on by flip-flopping decisions by this supreme body, where else could they turn to get justice?
With such a responsibility towards the people, the integrity and credibility of the people sitting in the Supreme Court should be unquestionable. Unfortunately, everyone cannot be completely assured that those holding judicial power are indeed capable of making supreme decisions that is fair and just for all. No one can be assured that these people are capable of making decisions without outside influence. The power of money and influence always seem to get in the picture of just about every decision the Supreme Court makes.
For ordinary people like you and me, is there really hope of ever having real justice to rely on? It is not easy for ordinary people to understand legal jargon and court parlance. It is even harder to understand how the court can say that their decision is right at one point and then turn around to say that it wrong at another time. Is that justice for the one who was initially penalized?
You may brush this issue off as just politics and perhaps something that does not really have anything to do with your everyday life. But, just think about everything else that this issue can have a ripple effect on. What if it turns out to be you, or anyone else you know, sitting on the complainant side of the court room? What would you do when flip-flops step on true justice?