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Published by Sajid Jacalne

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Published by: Sajid Jacalne on Jun 29, 2012
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06/29/2012

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ECHEGARAY v. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE FACTS: The DOJ, through the Department of Justice, filed an Urgent Motion forReconsideration on the January 4, 1999 issuance of the Supreme Court of a TemporaryRestraining Order (TRO) on the execution of Echegaray. The DOJ, represented bythe Solicitor General, argued that the Court nolonger has the authority to grantthe TRO because:1.That the Court lost its jurisdiction the moment it rendered its judgmentthat is already final and executory;2.That it is encroaching on the powers specifically vested by theSupreme Court to the executive department in granting the TRO;3.That the purpose sought to be achieved by the TRO is nil due tocertainsupervening events that transpired.ISSUE:Whether or not the court abusedits discretion in granting a TemporaryRestraining Order (TRO) on the execution of Echegaray despite the fact thatthe finality of judgment has already been rendered.RULING:No, the Court was within its authority when it granted the TRO despite thefinal and executory judgment having been rendered already.1.The Court did not lose its jurisdiction when it granted the TRO. In itsdecision, it categorically answered the contention of the plaintiff insuch that it is not changing its judgment. The Court is merelysuspending its execution temporarily.It was emphasized tht the Court, in rendering the judgment lost its jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same, but it retained itspower to execute and enforce it. It wasfurther stated that the power tocontrol the execution of its decision is an essential aspect of jurisdiction. The 1987 Constitution, according to the Court, strengthened andbroadened the power of the Court in matters like these. It gave the Court the power to promulgate rules concerning the protection andenforcement ofconstitutional rights, i.e. the right to life.On a final note regarding the first contention of the respondent, theDOJ acknowledged this Courtâ

s jurisdiction when it filed a Manifestationand Urgent Motion to Compel the trial judge to disclose the Warrant of Execution containing the date of Echegarayâ

s execution to the public.The jurisdiction of the Court, it emphasizes, does not depend on theconvenienceof the litigants.2.The respondentâ

s contention that the issuance of the TRO encroacheson the power of the executive is also rejected. Section 19 Article VII of theConstitution cannot be interpreted as denying the powers of theCourt to Controlthe enforcement of their decision after their finality. Itis not a usurpation ofthe presidential power of reprieve, although ithas he same effect.It must be noted that the powers of the Executive, the Legislative, andthe Judiciary to savethe life of a death convict does not exclude eachother for the simple reason that there is no higher right than the rightto life.3.The Court made it a point toclarify the rationale behind the issuance of the TRO. The Court had to decide onthe petitionerâ

s Very UrgentMotion for the Issuance of a TRO with a mere (5) hoursprior to theexecution of Echegaray. They had been placed in a very difficultposi

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