The Supreme Court of the Philippines
By Oscar V. Cruz
AGAIN and again, in so may words, in various occasions and in different ways, the head of the Executive Department expressly and clearly signified his disdain if not downright disgust for the Supreme Court after this declared his DAP novelty as downright unconstitutional. Among other things, his supposedly expert right hands did not even know what “savings” meant. And among other things as well, Impeachment Cases were launched against him for Culpable Violation of the Constitution plus the Loss of Public Trust.
Result: He displayed his big displeasure. He expressed his earnest disgust. He castigated the Supreme Court for having dared not only to question but also for having pronounced unlawful even his very own novel Pork Barrel. He wants revenge. He threatened the Supreme Court one way or another. But the Supreme Court said its piece and stood its ground – proclaiming in one way or another that the judicial institution was not under the caprice, much less under the command of the Executive Department.
It is wherefore not altogether vain nor futile to cite but three signal provisions in the Philippine Constitution on the power and autonomy of the Supreme Court plus the required personal qualifications of every Member thereof:
“Art. 1, Section 1: The judicial power shall be vested in the Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.”
The highest authority in the land to render judgment on issues such as precisely on the matter of constitutional questions is none other than the Supreme Court – and definitely not the Executive Department, no matter how supposedly wise and brilliant is the latter’s Chief-in-Command.
“Art. 1, Section 3: The judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Appropriations for the judiciary may not be reduced by the legislative below the amount appropriated for the previous year and, after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released.”
The Supreme Court has and enjoys fiscal autonomy once it is given its appropriation by the Legislative Department such that the Executive Department – not even any of its favorite and feared financial agency – may meddle therein to subjugate the independence and agenda of the Court.
“Art. 1, Section 7: (1)…A member of the Supreme Court must be at least forty years of age, and must have been for fifteen years or more, a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.”
But then, the following is one of the key requirements to enable a Filipino to become the President of the Republic of the Philippines: “Able to read and write.”
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