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AITY INQUIRER

THURSDAY / FEBRUARY 21, 2019


Wwr/lr'.INQUIRER,NET

Snails move faster


I melda Marcos roamed freelv for years conditions (rats in a cage live better) where
I before a ludgment was finaily brought only about P6o is allotted daily for three
I down-but she didn't go to jail. She is- meals. You can't buy a cup of Starbucks
I sued a measly P15o,ooo check as a bail coffee for that. One way to decongest the
bond. She has appealed this 27-year-old jails is to apply modern technology. Put
decision, so it will now drag on for who those anklets that restrict movement on
knows how many more years. She wants those who do not pose further risk to soci-
her appeal to be heard at the Supreme ety, those with minor offenses or those
Court, which should decline and pass it to who are not a flight risk. Maybe then, the
where itbelongs: the Court ofAppeals. jails willbecome habitable, and a modicurn
But why isshe allowed to be free while of edible food could be provided to the
appealing? I see this as a serious fault in prisoners. Maybe.
the philippine legal system. If a.iudge finds
you guilty and subiect to imprisonment,
the law has spoken, you go to jail. From
illE I t$
PETER WALLACE
Overwhelmingly, those who are in iail
are from the poor. Are the rich and power-
ful all honest? That's nice to know.
there you appeal, otherwise it will make a I did a small survey of businessmen,
mockery of the judge and his decision. and only 11 percent thought the Supreme
Imelda's is only the latest of famous cases Court was doing a good job; no one
that meander for aeons. cases it never should.
Some 8,7oo cases are thought the lower courts were. Over-
I put much of the slow crawl of iustice pending in that court as of end-2017. Such whelmingly, the perceptionwas average to
down to unscrupulous lawyers using all refusal should begin with Imelda's case, not very good.
kinds of "technicalities" to delay, even up- and the Court of Appeals is where appeals It's an ever so old adage, but true: 'Jus-
set, justice-and judges allowing it. One should end. tice delayed is iustice denied." The Phitip-
must abide by the detail of the law, but I have a fundamental problem with pine court system has been denying the
that should not exclude maldng a com- Philippine law. Like in the United States, Filipino people of the justice they have a
monsense judgment on an issue. Isn't that Philippine lawyers see their role as win- right to expect. I suspect it's a reason why
what a judge is, someone who makes a ning a case, regardless of whether the ac- summary iustice is tolerated.
judgment? If the judicial system somehow cused is innocent or guilty. I'll never forget The Chief Justice has nine months to
insists that judges have no choice but to one famous lawyer who said that even ifhe effect the major reforms the people have
accept technicalities, then do so, but give saw someone commit a crime, he'd defend been crying out for decades. How does he
an extremely limited time-days-to re- him to get him exonerated. But a lawyer's put in place such reforrns in such limited
solve them. Don't let it drag on for months role should be to seek the truth, not win time? How does he ensure that his succes-
and years. the case, sor continues with those reforms? I think
Continuous trial, which was introduced I roalize and accept that there are a this has to be a key point-that there has
in September 2o1Z has done away with number of constraints, with sufficient to be continuity of r€form. Talkinglto him,
some of the technicalities, so cases are funds being a principal one. Congress I sense that the Chief Justice is aware of
moving faster and a number ofcourts have needs to address that better than it does this, and he seems truly determined to
been able to declog their dockets. But now. But it goes beyond this; ther€ aren't leave a positive legacy of reform and
there's yet an awfully long way to go. enough judges or courts. So the ones we progress. So maybe, just maybe, the snail
On top of that, the courts apparently have are overloaded, particularly since too will shed its shell and start to crawl some-
accept virtually every case brought before many cases are nuisance ones. what faster.
them. Why? They should refuse frivolous There are more people in iails than
cases. Even the Supreme Court accepts these were designed for, living in inhuman E-mail: wallace_likeitis@wbf.ph

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