MANILA, Philippines – It is “hijacked” justice, said the Flight Attendants’ and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines (Fasap) on the recent Supreme Court (SC) ruling against their group in a case that pits them against Philippine Airlines (PAL).
The ruling, which the SC released to the public Wednesday, March 21, affirms the SC’s previous decision to recall a final verdict favoring Fasap. The case revolves around PAL’s alleged illegal retrenchment of Fasap members in 1998. (Read timeline here)
Quoting insiders, Rappler reported this on March 13, the day the SC made this ruling. The SC voted 7-2 on the case that has led critics to accuse the High Court of “flip-flopping.”
Chief Justice Renato Corona’s alleged role in the SC’s “flip-flopping” on the Fasap case is part of the impeachment complaint against him.
“There should be predictability and certainty of justice,” said Fasap president Bob Anduiza, likening the case to a basketball game.
“In basketball there are only 4 quarters to play and there is overtime in case of a tie. In our case, there is no tie. We already won 3 times, yet the court still wants more overtimes or more reviews. If justice delayed is justice denied, ours is even worse. Justice has been hijacked!” Anduiza said.
The ruling, he added, attempts to “justify” Corona’s role in the case.
In the ruling, the SC defended Corona on his alleged role in the recall of the SC’s final verdict on the Fasap case.
“(The) Chief Justice acted only on the recommendation of the ruling division since he had inhibited himself from participation in the case long before,” said the verdict penned by Associate Justice Arturo Brion.
The ruling said the confusion could have stemmed from Corona’s role as presiding officer of the SC en banc in its Oct 4, 2011 meeting, as well as the inhibition of the 4 most senior SC justices from the issue.
“In the absence of any clear personal malicious participation, it is neither correct nor proper to hold the Chief Justice personally accountable for the collegial ruling of the Court en banc,” the ruling explained.
In his reply to the impeachment complaint against him, Corona asserts he “took no part in the Fasap case, having inhibited since 2008.”
In her dissenting opinion, Associate Justice Ma Lourdes Sereno said the latest resolution sets a bad precedent in reviewing cases decided on with finality, among other things. “The majority resolution has opened a Pandora’s box full of future troubles for Philippine judicial decision-making,” Sereno said. – Rappler.com