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Paradise Lost: Politicisation of

the Philippine Supreme Court


in the Post-Marcos Era

Stacia Haynie

Presented by: Edbert Ragadio


Politics and the Court
Politics and the Court

 Politics: process by which resources are distributed


within a society
Politics and the Court

 Politics: process by which resources are distributed


within a society
 All participating institutions are political
Politics and the Court

 Politics: process by which resources are distributed


within a society
 All participating institutions are political
 Executive, Legislative, Judiciary
Politics and the Court

 Politics: process by which resources are distributed


within a society
 All participating institutions are political
 Executive, Legislative, Judiciary
 Analyzing courts: (1) jurisdiction, (2) independence,
(3) respect and reputation
The Pre-Marcos Court
The Pre-Marcos Court

 Reputation for independence and integrity


The Pre-Marcos Court

 Reputation for independence and integrity


 Broad jurisdiction over policy matters (economic,
political, social)
The Pre-Marcos Court

 Reputation for independence and integrity


 Broad jurisdiction over policy matters (economic,
political, social)
 Extensive power of constitutional review
The Marcos Court
The Marcos Court

 Groundwork for “constitutional authoritarianism”


The Marcos Court

 Groundwork for “constitutional authoritarianism”


 Abandoned pretenses of democratic processes
EXCEPT the capacity of courts to review his actions
The Marcos Court

 Groundwork for “constitutional authoritarianism”


 Abandoned pretenses of democratic processes
EXCEPT the capacity of courts to review his actions
 Staffed courts with people sympathetic to him,
which was initially the popular sentiment
The Marcos Court

 Groundwork for “constitutional authoritarianism”


 Abandoned pretenses of democratic processes
EXCEPT the capacity of courts to review his actions
 Staffed courts with people sympathetic to him,
which was initially the popular sentiment
 Justice: a “frontal clash” is not advisable
The Marcos Court

 Groundwork for “constitutional authoritarianism”


 Abandoned pretenses of democratic processes
EXCEPT the capacity of courts to review his actions
 Staffed courts with people sympathetic to him,
which was initially the popular sentiment
 Justice: a “frontal clash” is not advisable
 Court perceived as subservient
The Post-Marcos Court
The Post-Marcos Court

 Hope for an emerging democracy


The Post-Marcos Court

 Hope for an emerging democracy


 People Power Revolution: “overhaul” of the
Supreme Court (common thread: defiance against
Marcos)
The Post-Marcos Court

 Hope for an emerging democracy


 People Power Revolution: “overhaul” of the
Supreme Court (common thread: defiance against
Marcos)
 Court perceived as a bastion of independence
The Post-Marcos Court

 Hope for an emerging democracy


 People Power Revolution: “overhaul” of the
Supreme Court (common thread: defiance against
Marcos)
 Court perceived as a bastion of independence
 New constitution: Court duty-bound to guard
against excesses of future persons
Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost
th
 A decade later, the Court ranked 19 out of 32
government agencies, in a survey conducted with
the Makati Business Club
Paradise Lost
th
 A decade later, the Court ranked 19 out of 32
government agencies, in a survey conducted with
the Makati Business Club
th
 Court system as a whole ranked 30 out of 32,
below even garbage collection
Paradise Lost
th
 A decade later, the Court ranked 19 out of 32
government agencies, in a survey conducted with
the Makati Business Club
th
 Court system as a whole ranked 30 out of 32,
below even garbage collection
 Why?
The Politicisation of the Court
The Politicisation of the Court

 Population at large embraces the mechanical myth


of judging
The Politicisation of the Court

 Population at large embraces the mechanical myth


of judging
 In the Philippines, the judiciary threatens to
destabilize a long tradition of executive and
legislative dominance
The Politicisation of the Court

 Population at large embraces the mechanical myth


of judging
 In the Philippines, the judiciary threatens to
destabilize a long tradition of executive and
legislative dominance
 Thus, there are more efforts to coopt the members
of the court, and limit its power and prestige
The Politicisation of the Court

 Ultimately led to the loss of an opportunity to


enhance the legitimacy, independence, and
reputation of the court in the post-Marcos era
The Politicisation of the Court

 Ultimately led to the loss of an opportunity to


enhance the legitimacy, independence, and
reputation of the court in the post-Marcos era
 Contributing factors: (1) expanded power of the
court, (2) increased freedom of the media, and (3)
the internal structure of the court itself
Expanded Power of the Court
Expanded Power of the Court

 Administrative supervision of the lower courts,


including all judges and employees
Expanded Power of the Court

 Administrative supervision of the lower courts,


including all judges and employees
 Administration and discipline of the bar
Expanded Power of the Court

 Administrative supervision of the lower courts,


including all judges and employees
 Administration and discipline of the bar
 Removal from the supervision of the Secretary of
Justice; court assumed role of investigator
Expanded Power of the Court

 Administrative supervision of the lower courts,


including all judges and employees
 Administration and discipline of the bar
 Removal from the supervision of the Secretary of
Justice; court assumed role of investigator
 Expanded jurisdiction, vis-a-vis the political
question doctrine (“grave abuse” clause)
Increased Freedom of the Media
Increased Freedom of the Media

 “Alternative press” versus the Marcos regime


Increased Freedom of the Media

 “Alternative press” versus the Marcos regime


 Constitution providing specific protection for the
freedom of the press, minimizing press censorship
Increased Freedom of the Media

 “Alternative press” versus the Marcos regime


 Constitution providing specific protection for the
freedom of the press, minimizing press censorship
 26 new outlets almost immediately emerged in the
wake of 1986
Increased Freedom of the Media

 “Alternative press” versus the Marcos regime


 Constitution providing specific protection for the
freedom of the press, minimizing press censorship
 26 new outlets almost immediately emerged in the
wake of 1986
 Remained critical of all administrations
Increased Freedom of the Media

 Problems: (1) lack of professionally trained


journalists, and (2) competition-driven focus on
scandals / scandalisation of the focus
Increased Freedom of the Media

 Problems: (1) lack of professionally trained


journalists, and (2) competition-driven focus on
scandals / scandalisation of the focus
 Nonetheless, the empowerment of media led to
greater scrutiny of the court; a vast majority of the
coverage has been negative
Increased Freedom of the Media

 Problems: (1) lack of professionally trained


journalists, and (2) competition-driven focus on
scandals / scandalisation of the focus
 Nonetheless, the empowerment of media led to
greater scrutiny of the court; a vast majority of the
coverage has been negative
 Scandals: (1) LPC, (2) PLDT, (3) Jai Alai
Increased Freedom of the Media

 Problems: (1) lack of professionally trained


journalists, and (2) competition-driven focus on
scandals / scandalisation of the focus
 Nonetheless, the empowerment of media led to
greater scrutiny of the court; a vast majority of the
coverage has been negative
 Scandals: (1) LPC, (2) PLDT, (3) Jai Alai
 Suggestive of bribery and corruption
Increased Freedom of the Media

 Manila Times, Asian Wall Street Journal: allegations


of access, manipulation of opinion assignment,
outright bribery
Increased Freedom of the Media

 Manila Times, Asian Wall Street Journal: allegations


of access, manipulation of opinion assignment,
outright bribery
 Decrease in public respect
Increased Freedom of the Media

 Manila Times, Asian Wall Street Journal: allegations


of access, manipulation of opinion assignment,
outright bribery
 Decrease in public respect
 NB: Court instated safeguards, but enforcement is
another issue
Increased Freedom of the Media

 Manila Times, Asian Wall Street Journal: allegations


of access, manipulation of opinion assignment,
outright bribery
 Decrease in public respect
 NB: Court instated safeguards, but enforcement is
another issue
 Free press: double-edged sword to the court’s
reputation
Internal Court Structure and Norms
Internal Court Structure and Norms

 Appointment Process (JBC, Presidential power)


Internal Court Structure and Norms

 Appointment Process (JBC, Presidential power)


 Divisions and En Banc
Internal Court Structure and Norms

 Appointment Process (JBC, Presidential power)


 Divisions and En Banc
 Raffling to a ponente
Internal Court Structure and Norms

 Appointment Process (JBC, Presidential power)


 Divisions and En Banc
 Raffling to a ponente
 Age Limits
Internal Court Structure and Norms

 Appointment Process (JBC, Presidential power)


 Divisions and En Banc
 Raffling to a ponente
 Age Limits
 Ideological splitting
Conclusion
Conclusion

 Corruption has changed the discourse surrounding


the judiciary (rationalizing losses, difficulty of
investigation)
Conclusion

 Corruption has changed the discourse surrounding


the judiciary (rationalizing losses, difficulty of
investigation)
 Population’s support is essential as the
independence of the judiciary is grounded on the
people’s trust
Conclusion

 Corruption has changed the discourse surrounding


the judiciary (rationalizing losses, difficulty of
investigation)
 Population’s support is essential as the
independence of the judiciary is grounded on the
people’s trust
 Problems must be addressed: (1) behavior of the
court, (2) media ethics, and (3) supremacy of the
rule of law
Closing