Now what?


Written on 11:08 PM by isko b. doo

Court of Appeals Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas apologized after misquoting US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes to justify the executive’s decision to spirit away Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith from Makati jail into the custody of the US embassy.

In his decision, Bruselas quoted Holmes as saying “the other branches of the government are ultimate guardians of the liberties and welfare of the people in quite as great a degree as the courts.”

The original quote from the 1904 decision in the case of Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad vs May, however, was “ must be remembered that legislatures are the ultimate guardians of the liberties and welfare of the people in quite as great a degree as the courts.” The apology does address the inconsistency in the CA ruling.

The tenor of the CA decision has been one of unswerving conformity to Makati Judge Benjamin Pozon’s bold ruling until it declared the midnight transfer of Smith by the Department of Interior and Local Government of Smith with the blessings of MalacaƱang as “moot.” Citing Holmes, the CA ruling then said that the courts “many not directly intervene in the exercise of diplomacy no matter how proudly or meekly, strongly or weakly, such exercise may be conducted by the appropriate political organ of the government.”

Now the damage is done. Smith is now under the custody of the US embassy, which runs contrary to the CA ruling that the proper facility should be located outside of the US embassy, which is a US territory, and should be run by Philippine officials. Former Senate President Jovito Salonga said Bruselas may be held liable for falsification which is punishable under the Revised Penal Code with six months imprisonment.

“What will the court now do with respect to the wrongs (that were) committed against not only Nicole but also against the judiciary and against our aggrieved people?" Salonga asks.

Indeed, now that the CA found that it’s ruling was based on a wrong premise, would it moto propio reverse its decision and insists on the sovereign right of the Philippine government to the custody of Smith? If not, Nicole’s lawyers should pounce on this opportunity and test Bruselas’ sincerity in issuing an apology.

Or should we just accept the apology and let the issue die down like we did when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo helloed Garci?

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