MANILAVice President Leni Robredo has reminded the public that the courts are still the people's final protection against abuse.
In her speech at the Free the Courts: A Forum on the Philippine Justice System on Monday, Robredo said the courts were established "to protect the ordinary people and not to be used as weapons by those who have power."
Robredo said most people today are focused on many issues that they fail to see the real function of the judiciary.
"We must remind everyone that a judiciary is not just about a voluminous largely incomprehensible set of rules administered through an institution saddled with formality and ceremony. Rather, a judiciary is an institution whose independence is critical in protecting our people even those who are in power," she said.
The Vice President said powerful political figures should not be treated by the public as the last bastion of justice, noting that the people "would have to rely on the courts' independence to protect them and give them justice."
Many instances in history show the Supreme Court's protective power, she added.
"In 1952, they involved the universal declaration of human right to free a foreign national from detention by the Department of Justice. In 1984, it invalidated the seizure of printing equipment and press materials belonging to We Forum, an opposition newspaper, by the Philippine Constabulary, and the interesting thing is that this happened under the Marcos regime," Robredo said.
In 2003, the Supreme Court invoked equity and international law to protect people's rights against illegal searches and seizures. In 2006, the Supreme Court upheld the freedom of assembly by declaring invalid then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's policy of calibrated pre-emptive response which banned rallies without permits. In each of these examples, the Supreme Court shone in its finest hours protecting our people, even in those in power," she added.
Robredo said that she believes the High Court will do what is needed to protect the independence of the courts and the judicial system despite the many justice and human rights issues. (With reports from Jomari Castigador, OJT/PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency