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A Block of Emmental

There are two articles in today’s Philippine Daily Inquirer that caught my eye. The first one came from Twitter, detailing how the Supreme Court readied themselves for a ruling on the whole Hacienda Luisita brouhaha. The second one can be found on the front page of the Inquirer, just underneath the banner headline, stating that the Maguindanao Massacre could take about 55,000 years.

I’d like to call your attention to the events of last week. In the span of nearly one day, the Supreme Court delivered a TRO on the Arroyo hold-departure order. Later on, the Pasay City regional trial court issued an arrest warrant for Arroyo, effectively rendering the TRO moot. Needless to say, last week was a good week for political journalists of every ilk, and I’d hazard to say that after all of the bruised egos suffered here and there, the trend continues well into this week – and possibly the next, and for as long as the public will read anything related to P-Noy vs. GMA and the Supreme Court.

I’m not here to argue about what the hell last week was all about. I can’t say I’m happy with how things got railroaded into place just because of the whims of two presidents, past and present. But I’m all for putting GMA on trial as soon as possible. So I’m on the fence there.

What I am concerned about is just how long we’re going to let this joke of a judiciary hold office in this country. In the span of two weeks, we’ve seen both the Supreme Court and a regional court make decisions that normally would have taken them weeks, nay, months of proceedings. The Maguindanao investigation alone is going to take everybody a lifetime (and more!) to process, according to the statistics given by state prosecutor Harry Roque. In a similar manner, the Hacienda Luisita brouhaha has lasted the better part of a century. Now, in a startling turn of events, not only do we have arrest orders being given in a day by a judge widely known for his propensity to “sit on cases”, but we have a one-day ruling being given out by the Supreme Court on an issue that’s older than the current president himself!

Let me refresh my memory for a bit, and think back to my social studies classes in elementary and high school. The trio of government offices--the legislative, executive, and judicial departments--were all bound together by the constitution and the rule of law. That is, the legislative makes the law, the judiciary interprets the law, and the executive enforces the law. This is true, for the most part. I won’t go into detail about how past presidents have been horribly inefficient in running the country, or how the legislative like to make fools of themselves on live TV by broadcasting their truth commissions and investigations of issues that eventually do not get resolved at all (The Philippine Congress prides itself on being the avenue high-profile criminals choose to go through when they want to get away scot-free, it seems). But it seems to me that the judiciary has been the slowest and most inefficient factor of the three branches of government. Not only have some high-profile cases withstood the tests of time from one regime to the other, but these same bozos from the high court have shown themselves privy to bribery in cash or kind.

At least the executive actively ru(i)ns the country. And the legislative continuously streamlines the rule of law by adding more laws, some good, some stupid. But the judiciary has failed to impress anybody. In fact, if there’s anything more obvious now, after all the events of the past two weeks, it would be the fact that it is in the judicial branch that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights of our beloved republic is shown to be, as a friend of mine says it, more hole-ly than a block of Emmental cheese.

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