Two court orders-A A +A
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
A FRIEND, noting the spate of allegations of corruption against members of Congress and, lately, of impropriety against the Executive, said that the Judiciary may come out of all these as the strongest among the three branches of government. Its influence on the state of the nation may be more felt than even before, he said.
The day after he said that, I read that two courts issued two separate orders that could leave lasting imprints on our daily lives.
The first one was a restraining order that stopped the recently-announced reshuffle in the Bureau of Customs. The other one was a writ of preliminary injunction compelling an athletic league to let a player compete in an ongoing basketball tournament. Are we witnessing the pervasive presence of the courts in community life?
In the first case, 15 customs collectors sought and were granted a reprieve by a Manila regional trial court from the massive revamp that the BOC implemented a few months after President Aquino castigated the bureau during his State of the Nation Address as one of the most corrupt agencies in the country.
Among those who filed the petition was Eduard de la Cuesta, who, until the revamp that the court aborted, was district collector of Cebu. De la Cuesta and the other petitioners claimed that their re-assignment violated their constitutional rights to security of tenure because, although they were not fired, they have been demoted from collectors to ordinary researchers.
Because a TRO expires after 20 days, a hearing should be conducted soon to determine whether a preliminary injunction should be issued while the main case challenging the constitutionality of the collectors’ reassignment is being heard.
The hearing will be similar to the one that Cebu RTC Judge Simeon Dumdum Jr. held in the other case, involving high school basketball player Scott Aying.
Dumdum had earlier issued a TRO that, in effect, would have allowed Aying to play the last few games of the University of San Carlos Baby Warriors in the Cebu Schools Athletic Federation Inc. (Cesafi) tournament. Cesafi however chose to suspend all their remaining games in the high school division pending resolution of their challenge of the TRO and of the player’s own application for an injunction.
The Cesafi argued that the courts have no business interfering in sports competitions.
The message was, leave sports to the sportsmen.
But Dumdum disagreed, saying that the league’s position was applicable only in a perfect world. “But reality being what it is, in the field of sports, which is also a field of human activity, conflicts arise,” he said.
Dumdum agreed with the petitioner that the Cesafi rule that requires transferee players to matriculate for two years applies only to the collegiate, not the high school, division. He added that even if the rule were otherwise, it still could not be applied to Aying who did not transfer from a Cesafi member school but from San Beda.
The Cesafi has two choices: schedule the high school games and allow Aying to play or suspend them indefinitely while they elevate the injunction order to the Court of Appeals and, perhaps, the Supreme Court. The first option is easier but that means that the school owners, who upheld the league commissioner’s decision disqualifying Aying, admit that they were wrong.
The second option is more complicated and could eventually result in the cancellation of the high school tournament. It could also court a contempt citation. On the other hand, it could enrich jurisprudence. How far can court intervention go in sports?
Up to where can the judiciary’s presence in our daily lives already considered pervasive? We would like to know.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 03, 2013.