Inviting judicial interference-A A +A
Saturday, March 31, 2012
IT WASN’T just the bikini, said St. Theresa’s College (STC), but the poses struck by the students who wore it, which were, as the photographs showed, “obscene, sexually provocative and revolting to the sense of any decent person, much more to their mothers.” STC is smarting from the beating that, it said, it is taking from the media and the public eye and it is obvious from the last part of its statement who it is blaming for its predicament.
In saying that the decision to punish its students went far beyond the issue of their wearing the bikini, STC has effectively taken the case from the ambit of the objective to the subjective. In STC’s view, the students were guilty of conduct that, in the words of a professor of urban values at the New York University, tended “to deprive human beings of their specifically human dimension.”
But who is to say whether a pose, as captured in a photograph, is the sort that brutalizes and debases the citizenry or, to quote the STC statement, “is revolting to the sense of any decent person”? By what yardstick does one measure the moral fitness of a Theresian for her to be considered a Theresian 24/7?
Many years ago, Gov. Gwen Garcia walked out of a beauty pageant in a southern town because she considered the fact that the contestants were made to wear bikinis debasing to Filipino womanhood. Not long after, the wearing of bikinis was banned in beauty contests in the province.
If only STC were as specific. If only its rules simply said that a student who wears a bikini in a public place may be expelled or denied participation in graduation ceremonies. If only it did not come out with a statement that its students were punished not for the bikini that they wore but for their obscene and revolting photographs.
In effectively taking the students’ case from the objective to the subjective, from the real to the abstract, world, the school only succeeded in inviting more judicial interference.
That should include an order to explain from Regional Trial Court Judge Wilfredo Navarro why STC defied his order to allow the students to join their graduation ceremonies last Friday. Indeed, it is ironic that a party that is fighting for its rights to enforce its rules in order to preserve its institution should disregard a higher set of rules (the rule of law) intended to preserve all institutions.
STC should come up with a better excuse than the one it offered, that they considered the temporary restraining order defective because Navarro did not order the posting of a bond. Maybe, they should look at the jurisdictional issue instead since the complaint was filed on behalf of minors and under the rules should have been brought before a family court.
In any case, it is fair warning that Judge Navarro may not take the defiance of his order too kindly.
I have a healthy respect for the medical profession, which is why I am terribly disappointed when I hear that a doctor has behaved in a grossly unprofessional manner.
One of my lawyers, Junalit Molo, visited a doctor at his clinic yesterday to have her pimples treated. The doctor, however, scolded her instead for not returning immediately after her first visit. She attempted to explain that financial constraints prevented her from obeying his instructions (if the BIR is interested, it cost her P3,000 per visit) but he would have none of it, saying it was not his problem if she didn’t have money. Junalit went out of the clinic untreated and totally humiliated.
Doc, you may be a successful practitioner but it does not give you any right to treat your patients rudely.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 01, 2012.