MOTION for reconsideration or, in lawyers’ shorthand, MR, is part of courtroom procedure. If the court decides against a party to a lawsuit, his lawyer routinely files an MR.

MRs have figured in the big news lately.

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On petition of the League of Cities, the Supreme Court (SC) nullified on Nov. 18, 2008 the laws creating 16 new cities, among which are Cebu’s Bogo, Carcar and Naga.

The rejected cities, called League of 16, filed two MRs, one after the other, and the SC dumped them, one after the other, on March 31 and May 21, 2009. The second rebuff tucked a warning the decision was final and the SC would accept no more MRs. Undaunted, the League of 16 filed another MR disguised as a motion to amend the ruling.

But, surprise of surprises, the SC acted on the motion and, on Dec. 21, 2009, flipped in favor of the 16 cities. Stripped three times before, the 16 now preen with the SC-declared status of cityhood.

But rejoicing may be premature. The League of Cities filed its own MR against the rival group’s surfeit of MRs.

Change of mind

The MR is useful as it opens a door for a possible change of mind. New fact or insight may prompt justices to reverse the ruling.

But surely the rule wasn’t aimed to prolong an issue already flogged to death by combatants. On the cities issue, SC couldn’t be so dense as to get it right only in its fourth—maybe fifth or sixth—voting.

Tining Martinez last Friday took his oath as declared winner in the protest against Benhur Salimbangon. Is the fourth district battle over? Apparently not, not until the fat lady sings to tell us which MR prevails.