SC can't question wisdom of the President: law dean


Posted at Aug 09 2016 12:16 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. File/Composite

A law college dean believes the Supreme Court cannot question the wisdom of the President when he named public officials, including magistrates, who are allegedly linked to the illegal drug trade.

Speaking to radio DZMM, law dean Jaime Ibanez of the Laguna State Polytechnic University said there are a number of constitutional provisions that allow the President to name officials that commit illegal acts.

"If the law enforcers do not do their thing, the President can see to it that violators of this law shall be punished and their attentions will be called," he said.

Ibanez said President Duterte's decision to name officials with alleged drug ties is no different from the power of the Senate to investigate, in aid of legislation, personalities accused of illegal acts.

"If the Senate can do that, inviting people (to) talk about their ignorance or participation in the crime, then by analogy the President can do that also," he said.

The law dean also described as "misplaced" Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's concern about the naming of magistrates in the alleged drug list.

"When what is involved is the wisdom of the President and not the legality, the Supreme Court cannot inquire into the wisdom. The wisdom of the President to protect the people and the wisdom of the President to determine the factual basis of who these public officials are engaged in illegal has already been sustained by the decision of the Supreme Court," he said.

Ibanez said personalities named in the drug list "have to come out in the open."

"These are public officials...If they have a clear conscience, come out in the open," he said.

The Chief Justice earlier raised concerns about the alleged drug list, saying it is important to know the source and basis of the allegation against the judges.

She pointed out the Supreme Court exercises administrative supervision over all lower courts.

"A premature announcement of an informal investigation on allegations of involvement with the drug trade will have the unwarranted effect of rendering the judge veritably useless in discharging his adjudicative role. Thus this Court has been careful, all too aware that more often than not, a good reputation is the primary badge of credibility and the only legacy that many of our judges can leave behind," she said in a letter to the President.

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