Sula: A judge's sense of humor


IT’S not exactly Solomonic brilliance, but close to it. You can say it's win-win, in a way.

I salute Judge Andres Soriano of the Makati TRC 148 for handing down a compromise decision that makes the protagonists in the case think they've won. Being a non-lawyer, I don't know how often it happens.

Certainly, there are other real big winners in this case. Of course, it's Senator Sonny Trillanes IV, primarily. Overall, it's the rule of law. It reinstates the dignity and integrity of the judiciary which, recently has been dangerously eroded by what has been perceived as poor, half-baked decisions from other courts.

If you care to read between the lines, Judge Andy seems to humor the highest official of the land. It is as if it he was saying that it's alright for the chief executive to make a fool of himself but the judiciary will never be party to it. It will have to stick to his gun, especially if the foolishness means violating the rights of others and established legal doctrines.

In my mind, that is an honest take-away because the root of the whole issue is not about a president's prerogative to issue a proclamation per se but whether that proclamation at bar is Constitutional. A lawyer or judge worth his salt should know that. The earlier Pilate-like foot-dragging was a moral cop out. In indulging Malacañang, the judge sidestepped the real issue, gave a face-saving exit to the petitioners, played a bit of politics, obviously and emerged unscathed in the process.

That's quite a feat. This must be a real baptism of fire for Judge Soriano. The bigger picture is that it gave the judiciary the opportunity to redeem itself and restore public confidence, especially to those who are unfairly targeted retribution for whatever reason, especially politics, and are about to lose faith in the blindfolded Lady Justice.

The country should be celebrating. A national holiday of joy should be declared in honor of one judge who has, pardon the term, the balls to face up to the powers that be and tell them off that they are dead wrong in their reckless pursuit of whatever.

At this time, when the nation is gripped by inflation and poverty, it a great relief to know that not everything and everybody can be bought in cash or in kind. Justice is not a commodity and is never meant for sale to the highest bidder or offered as a pacifier to the most powerful.

What a rare day, indeed!

In meantime, the other lawyers who were second-guessing the judge should review their law or look into their conscience for soul-searching. It's not yet late although it may not be that easy.

Tough luck.


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