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Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« on: April 15, 2018, 11:44:18 PM »

It's not just about the lynching of Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno.

The independence of the Philippine judiciary is under attack. With it comes the chilling prospect of the "destruction of our beloved Philippines."

Strong language, yes.

It was the first time retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. took the stage with the embattled Sereno in a packed hall of college-high school students and basic sector groups in UP Cebu last April 5.

Davide’s full speech here describes the struggle of "Two Calvaries". One is the attack on judicial independence. The second is Charter Change seeking to install Federalism.

hilario-davide-jr-0eeb3e9e-cc16-4a3e-8dbb-0052d072bb1-resize-750 - Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries - Philippine Government
(Retired) Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2018, 11:46:52 PM »

THE CALVARIES OF THE PHILIPPINE JUDICIARY TODAY: JUDICIAL REFORMS?

Madame Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes P.A. Sereno, Dean Mende, Participants in this forum, guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to Cebu our dear Chief Justice, the home of Lapu-Lapu, the first Filipino hero to repulse a foreign invader and who would even be the first to shout “over my dead body” if the Philippines would be made a province of China. It was the President himself who mentioned this lowly status of the Philippines before a group of Chinese businessmen last February 19. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in an attempt to cushion the horrible negative impact of the pronouncement said that it was only a joke of the President. Knowing China, it will not consider it a joke. Chinese leaders are not known to be jokers.

Madame Chief Justice, with the descendants of Lapu-Lapu, you are safe here in Cebu.

I must congratulate the College of Social Sciences of UP Cebu, the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT), All UP Academic Employees Union of the UP Cebu, Cebu for Human Rights (C4HR), KARAPATAN Visayas, and the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL-Cebu) for organizing a series of public forums entitled, “Signs of the Time,” and for choosing for this afternoon’s segment the topic “Road to Judicial Reforms.”

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2018, 11:50:45 PM »

As concerned groups with indomitable courage to be deeply involved in and to fight for great causes that would affect our country and our people of this our beleaguered generation and of those yet unborn, you organizers cannot just idly stand by. There are indeed “signs of the time” that indicate something worse for the country and our people, but all camouflaged with “good intentions.”

Yes, signs of the time. Indeed, in this our time, which could even be short – there are many signs. This brings us to a recollection of what Jesus said to the Pharisees and Sadducees, who demanded from Him a sign. In the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 16, verses 1-4, Jesus said: “In the evening you say, ‘Tomorrow will be fair, for the sky is red;’ and in the morning, ‘Today will be stormy for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to judge the appearance of the sky, but you cannot read the signs of the times. An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” And in the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 11, verse 30, the sign of Jonah is the sign to the Ninevites (of Nineveh) of the forthcoming destruction of Nineveh.

You are correct: there are signs of the time. The real sign may yet be the sign of Jonah. By your forum series you can ultimately send the message of the sign of Jonah – destruction of our beloved Philippines.

What are these gloomy signs which would finally end with that of Jonah – the destruction of our country?

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2018, 11:51:47 PM »

The first is the current war against the Philippine Judiciary. I call this the First Calvary of the Judiciary.

The second is composed of many which can be put together and labeled Charter Change. I call this the Second Calvary of the Judiciary.

I will dwell on the first because the intensified war against or attacks on the independence of the Judiciary threaten the institution itself as the guardian of the Constitution, the protector of the rights and freedoms of the people, the last bulwark of democracy and the sentinel of the rule of law.

This saddens me to the core of my heart because I spent fifteen years of my life in the service of the Judiciary, seven of which as Chief Justice. As such, I started my difficult task of leading the Philippine Judiciary with a vision-mission: a judiciary that is independent, effective and efficient; that delivers fair, impartial, equal and swift justice; one that adheres to and preserves the core values of the rule of law and pursuit of excellence; and one that safeguards the public trust and confidence in it at all times. In pursuit thereof, early in my watch, the Supreme Court promulgated the Action Program for Judicial Reform (APJR), which was the most comprehensive package of judicial reforms for the Philippine Judiciary, and the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank considered it as a model even for the other judiciaries of the world. The then Professor of Law, Ma. Lourdes P.A. Sereno, now our Chief Justice, contributed much to the APJR as consultant for some very substantive and significant aspects of judicial reforms.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2018, 11:52:59 PM »

This First Calvary of our present Judiciary appears to have started when our Chief Justice asserted her defense of its independence when the executive department tried to interfere in the matter of disciplining judges, and when she praised the Constitution for its focus on human rights and for ensuring and preserving judicial independence in her statement for the thirtieth anniversary of the ratification of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines last 2 February 2017.

On that occasion, she solemnly said:

“More than simply a statement of principles and a collection of hopes and aspirations, the 1987 Constitution formed the backbone for the democracy ushered in by the force of the People Power Revolution of 1986. Ending the revolutionary government put in place then President Corazon C. Aquino’s Proclamation No. 3, the 1987 Constitution also provided rich and fertile ground for the rule of law to be nourished, to grow and to bear fruit. This it did with the renewed focus on human rights and civil liberties and enshrined sovereignty and institutional protection for the independence of the Judiciary.”

Added to these were her subsequent judicial pronouncements which were misunderstood as anti-administration. She paid a high price for these.

She now faces impeachment, which took a long process in the Lower House where even sitting Justices of the Court were invited to testify on matters basically administrative and within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court.

Never has there been in the history of our Republic a spectacle such as this.*

*underscoring, and all subsequent underscoring, mine. - islander

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2018, 11:55:07 PM »

Then the Solicitor General filed, several years after the period to do so had expired, a quo warranto case before the Supreme Court for the purpose of removing the Chief Justice, even as the impeachment case is ongoing.

This case leaves for history many firsts: (1) it is the first to be filed in the Supreme Court;

(2) it is the first where the Members of the Court, except one, voted to require the respondent Chief Justice to comment on the Petition within a non-extendible period of ten days;

(3) the first where the Members of the Court required a Chief Justice to appear at the oral arguments to answer questions from her colleagues; and

(4) the first where a majority of the Members of the Court would sit as judges against a respondent whom they had earlier testified against in the impeachment case.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2018, 11:56:09 PM »

More alarming yet was the demand of some judges and court personnel for the Chief Justice to resign, which amounted to condemning her without evidence and judging her guilty without trial.

Again, never before had this happened in our history as a democratic country with a Constitution that guarantees the rule of law and due process.

This sad chapter of our history compelled me to issue on 12 March 2018 a “Call to Preserve the Independence of the Judiciary and to Safeguard the Rule of Law and Due Process.”

I just wondered quite aloud and perhaps rightly so if the judges and court personnel who demanded for the resignation of the Chief Justice had allowed themselves, wittingly or unwittingly, to be used by those who seek to remove the Chief Justice.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2018, 11:57:15 PM »

There were many who believed so especially those who believed that the impeachment case will not prosper in the Senate where the Senators, truly acting as Judges, will put aside their political colors, and that the quo warranto will not prosper. Then, the third alternative would be to force the Chief Justice to resign.

I commend and congratulate the Chief Justice for her courage, unequalled in any language, in standing for the Judiciary by announcing that she will not resign and will face the impeachment trial, which she even wanted to be done as soon as possible.

Here is a Chief Justice who is willing to die for the Judiciary’s independence and integrity.

And now on the group of signs I labeled as Charter Change or the Second Calvary of the Philippine Judiciary.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2018, 11:58:03 PM »

Charter Change is made more attractive by the thrill of a shift from our 120 year-old unitary system of government to the untried, untested Federal system of government supposedly Filipino whose “architectural design” is still left to the imagination.

You may recall that at the inaugural session of the President’s Consultative Committee, the Chair, retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno, urged the eighteen members of the Committee to devote serious thought on the “architectural design” of a Federal system distinctly Filipino (Manila Bulletin, 20 February 2018).

This is an admission that the system would be in style, in substance, and in scope, exclusively Filipino. It would have no models like any of the existing Federal States, such as the United States of America, Canada, Germany or the Russian Federation, or further back yet, the USSR.

We are informed that of the present 193 Member-States of the United Nations, only forty (40) have adopted Federalism.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2018, 12:10:56 AM »

The proponents of Federalism try to lure our people to believe that our existing unitary system is highly centralized which has created and maintained an “Imperial Manila” which nurtures and perpetuates a tremendous imbalance in the exercise of governmental powers, and allocation of government resources in favor of “Imperial Manila” and against the present political subdivisions or local government units.

To reverse that imbalance, they now propose the creation between the Central Government and its existing political subdivisions a strong autonomous sovereign governmental authority – States or Regions – which shall share with the central government authority and power to the end that the existing local government units will truly enjoy the blessings of genuine autonomy.

We know of course that if this were the only motivation and purpose, there would be no need to amend the Constitution.

Our present Constitution provides for that autonomy.
It devotes one whole Article on Local Government – Article X. This Article orders the first Congress convened under the Constitution to enact a Local Government Code which shall, among other things, provide for a more “responsive and accountable local government structures instituted through a system of decentralization” (Sec. 3). That first Congress enacted the 1991 Local Government Code.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2018, 12:18:48 AM »

In short effective decentralization of power sharing between the central government and the political subdivisions – which is the principal aim of federalism – are already assured and mandated – not denied or impeded – by the Constitution.

On the other hand, they are hampered or impeded by the failure – deliberate or otherwise – to fully implement the Constitution. If more are still needed, the 1991 Local Government Code can just be amended.

Under the Code, Congress is mandated to review it once every five years. Congress has not done so. So why blame the Constitution?

In the final analysis, my friends, the shift to Federalism is just a bait.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2018, 12:20:28 AM »

Behind it are the hidden agenda of shrewd politicians who seek to establish a “new paradise” – of power, fortune, and fame – for them. These are the politicians who fit the description given by former French president Pompidou: those who place the nation at their service; not statesmen who place themselves at the service of the nation.

These hidden agenda are hidden no more; they have been exposed.

From the drafts of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of the Philippines submitted to or filed with the Lower House, or as gathered from pronouncements of the gods of the Lower House, these are, among others:

(1) the adoption of the parliamentary form of Government;

(2) extensions of the terms of incumbent elected officials, which would mean the postponement or cancellation of the May 2019 elections;

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2018, 12:22:09 AM »

(3) the lifting of term limits as now prescribed by the Constitution, thereby allowing the President to seek reelection and the other elected officials to hold on to power for as many terms as they want;

(4) increasing the number of years for a term of office of elective positions;

(5) providing for a transition period for Federalism which could last for many years with the incumbent President in power;

(6) the lifting of the restrictions on the exercise of the Presidential power to proclaim martial law or to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus thereby opening the door to the resurrection of the Marcos dictatorship;

(7) the removal of certain judicial powers of the Judiciary and abolition of the Judicial and Bar Council, thereby weakening the Judiciary especially the Supreme Court; and

( 8 ) the lifting of the Filipino citizenship requirement in the National Patrimony and economic provisions of the Constitution and leaving everything to Congress.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2018, 12:24:14 AM »

This lifting of the citizenship requirement would end up with the outright surrender of the Philippines to foreigners at no cost to them. It would open further the way for the Philippines becoming a colony of a foreign power, or just a province of China according to the President.

It would convert our Congress from a free (spelled F-R-E-E) market of noble ideas and ideas into a fee (spelled F-E-E) market of lobbyists for moneyed foreign powers and businessmen seeking entry into our national resources and wealth. Graft and corruption in the halls of Congress and outside will flourish. Bribed and corrupted members of Congress will have huge foreign deposits which even AMLA would be powerless to monitor.

These certainly are components of the “new paradise” for the politicians. But not for the people. To them it would be HELL – spelled H-E-L-L.

This is the reason why, following the rush to amend or revise our 1987 Constitution by, primarily, adopting the Federal system of government, I publicly declared that the shift to Federalism is a lethal experiment, a fatal leap, a plunge to death, a leap to hell.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2018, 12:25:29 AM »

I also described Federalism as similar to the sin mentioned in verse 3 of Chapter 21 of the Book of Sirach of the Old Testament. This verse says that every sin or offense is like a two-edged sword; when it cuts, there can be no healing. Federalism is a two-edged sword, when it cuts, there is no healing.

By skillful propaganda strategy, this issue of Charter Change has overshadowed other major issues of paramount importance such as, among others: continuing violations of human rights with the daily cases of extrajudicial killings; peace and order and national security aggravated by the increasing threats from terrorist groups and the NPA; graft and corruption; and threats to our territorial integrity.

As to the latter, China is practically flying its flag on the West Philippine Sea, and is trying to grab our Benham Rise and perhaps later our beloved Philippines itself.

Remember, last February 19, before Chinese businessmen, the President mentioned of the Philippines as a province of China. Malacañang spokesperson Harry Roque explained that it was just a joke of the President. But knowing China, it will not consider it a joke. Chinese leaders are not known to be jokers.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2018, 12:30:44 AM »

Our becoming a province of China may not be too far away. It was also reported in the 1 March issue of the Philippine Star that Malacañang mentioned about the China-Philippine co-ownership of the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea. Then, as reported in the Philippine Daily Inquirer issue of 7 March, Director Batongbakal of the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea revealed a news article in a China Communist Party newspaper that the Philippines $7.34 billion loans from China would be secured by our natural resources.

The issue of Charter Change has further divided our already divided people. This reminds us of what Jesus Himself says about the Pharisees of His time.

According to the Gospel of Matthew (12:25), Jesus said: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid to waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand.”

I have in many forums denounced the several evils of Federalism and what it can do to our country and our people. Most of you may have known about them.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2018, 12:37:29 AM »

Here now are what you really want to hear more from me.

This is about the Judiciary under Federalism. I only made a short reference to the Judiciary when I enumerated the hidden agenda behind federalism, to wit: the removal of certain judicial powers of the Judiciary and abolition of the Judicial Bar Council. Federalism would be the longest Calvary for the Philippine Judiciary. The latter will undergo some scourging, some lashes, some whipping. I do not know if these are judicial reforms.

I leave the conclusion to each of you after some deep reflection and discernment.

In the three proposals in the House of Representatives, one reduces the extent of judicial power by deleting from Section 1 of Article VIII of our Constitution the power of the court “to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government,” thereby restoring the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions which prevented the Supreme Court to inquire into cases involving so-called “political questions” which in fact emasculated the Judiciary’s power and anything under the well-settled principle of “checks and balances” in a tripartite democratic system of governance.

islander

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2018, 12:40:04 AM »

In another proposal, judicial power is no longer vested in “one Supreme Court and in such other courts as may be established by law,” as provided in Section 1 of Article VIII, but in “one Federal Supreme Court, the Regional Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, and in such lower courts as may be established by law in the different Regions of the Federal States.”

This would “constitutionalize” the Sandiganbayan and the Regional Court of Appeals, which would effectively abolish the present Court of Appeals. This constitutionalization would make it difficult to make changes thereon because to do so would require an amendment to the Constitution.

With the various component States authorized to establish lower courts in their respective States, we could just imagine how many can be created in each State, mostly for political purposes. The number will depend on the wishes or caprices of the political clans/dynasties in the States.

In another proposal, the State Legislatures are authorized to establish courts for the indigenous peoples.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2018, 12:41:28 AM »

In another proposal, each State would have the power to enact penal laws and prescribe penalties therefor. Thus, inevitably, we will have Federal crimes and State crimes.

In another proposal, the States can have their own Constitutions or organic acts. Cases concerning their application or interpretation will ultimately reach the Supreme Court for its final resolution.

In another proposal, all courts must decide all cases pending decisions as of the ratification of the Constitution within six months from such ratification.

In two proposals, the Judicial and Bar Council will be abolished. Open political pressures and interferences in the appointments to the Judiciary will rule the day. Justices and judges would be put at the mercy of politicians and political dynasties.

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Re: Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide on Judiciary Calvaries
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2018, 12:43:02 AM »

Also, one of the proposals seeks the creation of a Constitutional Court, which would decide on constitutional questions, electoral protests cases involving the President and Vice President, the disputes between the Federal government and State governments, between and among State governments, and disputes between the State governments and the local government units.

We do not know yet who are qualified to be appointed to the Constitutional Court. I know of one who suggests that the Constitutional Court may be a hybrid of retired Supreme Court Justices, preferably retired Chief Justices, and others. I am sure he was only joking. But he appeared serious.

Howsoever viewed, with these proposals under Federalism, we will have a horribly bloated Judicial bureaucracy, subjected to potential pressures, influences, and interferences exerted by politicians and political dynasties, with lawyers seeking the blessings of politicians to get judges’ positions created by politicians themselves.

Knowing the litigious mentality of our people who would bring to court cases which could otherwise be resolved by simple acts of Christian charity, our courts will face a deluge of cases.

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