The Supreme Court just came out with two landmark decisions and I am writing not to discuss their merits but to express elation over the Justices' gallant stand to uphold the law.
Most recent is the declaration of the MOA on Ancestral Domain as unconstitutional – a fact long established in the bar of opinion but would nonetheless require SC confirmation; if only to define the limits of the powers that Malacañang and its cohorts regularly exercise with reckless abandon.
They’ve done it before with the ZTE deal: once caught with their dirty hands in the cookie jar, they backed-out of the arrangements and declared that there was no more need for the Court to intervene as the agreements were not signed anyway, making the issue moot and academic. No harm, foul.
But thank goodness the Court tilted the other way this time, declaring the issue as justiciable, on account of “ (1) the grave violation of the Constitution involved; (b) the exceptional character of the situation and paramount public interest; (c) the need to formulate controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar and the public; and (d) the fact that the case is capable of repetition yet evading review.”
The Court thus made these pronouncements on the excesses made by the government panel:
“In sum, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process committed grave abuse of discretion when he failed to carry out the pertinent consultation process, as mandated by EO No. 3, RA 7160, and RA 8371. The furtive process by which the MOA-AD was designed and crafted runs contrary to and in excess of the legal authority, and amounts to a whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary and despotic exercise thereof. It illustrates a gross evasion of positive duty and a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined,” the Court said.”
Bravo! It’s just too sad that the government’s blatant disregard for basic constitutional tenets has resulted in the loss of lives, property and peace. I just hope this gung-ho government gets and imbibes the lesson.
Another vital decision was the declaration of Boracay island (except for some titled portions) as owned by the State, based on the fact that there is yet no positive act from the government to declare such lands as alienable and disposable (which would have allowed the claimants thereof to obtain private ownership). In other words, possession or occupation of the lands regardless of length or by whatever nature, will not vest them any rights to the land.
The claimants (yup, including those “owning” flashy beach resorts and golf courses) would have to contend with how the government wants to classify and dispose the lands for the benefit of the common good (and to that I’m keeping my fingers crossed).
The SC’s words were poignant: “The Court also notes that for a number of years, thousands of people have called the island their home. While the Court commiserates with private claimants’ plight, we are bound to apply the law strictly and judiciously. This is the law and it should prevail. Ito ang batas at ito ang dapat umiral.”
To that I say, Amen.
(Note: photos were lifted from the net)