UNDERMINING THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

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The unique characteristic of a presidential unitary form of government, like the Phil ippines, is the existence of the three branches of government, the executive, legisla tive and the judiciary. Under the 1987 Constitution, the executive department is composed of the President, Vice President and the members of the appointed Cabinet, while the legislative department is composed of the widely-elected senators for the upper chamber and the Congress representatives elected for every legislative district in the different districts around the country, The judiciary is a co-equal branch of the executive and legislative branches in charge of interpreting the laws passed by Congress, and those that are executed by the people who were bestowed the aforesaid powers. Clearly, the three branches are independent from each other but they co-equally exist with specific functions for check and balance of each other.

The logo of the judiciary which is a blindfolded individual who is trying to balance the scale, only shows that justice is for everybody no matter the status in life and society because the laws of the land were crafted to be applicable to all the people and not just a selected few. Ironically, justice seems to be in favour of the rich and not the poor because of numerous instances in the past that ruined the image of the judiciary from the perception of the ordinary people that is why citizens are adamant in resorting to the legal front in times of conflict.
Further, the Philippine constitution and other laws crafted by Congress created a number of quasi-judicial and independent bodies tasked to investigate fraudulent activities of people, mostly in the government service, to help in instilling the trust and confidence of the Filipinos to the present form of bureaucracy. However, it seems even the aforesaid bodies had been infiltrated by people who do not deserve to be in the said posts. Indeed, the image of the country’s justice system had been eroded primarily because of the malpractices of some officials that casts doubt on landmark decisions rendered in favour of the influential people who used their influence to get what they want. Unfortunately, bad sayings such as “justice delayed is justice denied”, “justice for the rich and not for the poor”, among others, are famous even among ordinary people because of what they have witnessed in previous proceedings of some past high profile crimes.

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The judiciary is the avenue where legal questions on certain issues, programs, projects and activities of the government and the private sector are properly ventilated. It is where bright minds test the mettle of each other to win the heart of the one deciding the case based on the merits and not based on whatever consideration.
However, reality has not been true to some of the ordinary people as it deprived them of access to justice. On the other hand, there are also some people who try to undermine the country’s judiciary or justice system by filing similar cases in different avenues in gross violation of the Anti-forum Shopping Law. Under existing rules and regulations, cases of the same nature should not be filed in different avenues because it undermines the justice system. However, there are some people who continue to insist on such illegal practice simply because they want to harass the individuals who they are charging by filing fabricated, baseless and malicious cases. Obviously, people who resort to forum shopping admit that the cases they are filing against those that they accuse are either ill-prepared, insufficient pieces of evidence available or not case at all. The mere fact that people file cases in the same nature in different avenues shows that they are simply interested in trial by publicity, harassment or as a revenge, for what had been done against them by the person or individuals who they are charging for battery of cases.

While it is true that members of the judiciary are fully aware of such tactics by legal professionals and their clients, there are still some practitioners who cannot read between the lines the real intention of the parties. It is high time for the different pillars of the justice system to put a stop on the forum shopping practices of some legal professionals who are simply using the same as a leverage for them to gain the advantage over others in their quest to be granted favour by the powers that be. Let us be vigilant in the said types of malpractices by some individuals who simply want to use the judiciary as in avenue to hide their own wrongdoings and gain advantage over their fellow personalities in order to gain the better favour from those they are trying to malign. It is also unfortunate there are some individuals who are trying to jump the gun when responsible agencies that need to render decisions have not yet done so, thus, maligned individuals are already pre-judged when nothing has been done about their case by the investigating agency, thus, the need for people to put things in their proper perspective before making drastic actions in the future.

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