Move on, 2 senators urge SC

October 26, 2010

Bernadette E. Tamayo
People’s Journal  
October 26, 2010

SENATORS Edgardo Angara and Francis Pangilinan yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court to “move on” and end its row with the University of the Philippines Faculty of Law over the issue of plagiarism.

Sen. Francis Escudero, on the other hand, said the “impasse” between the Supreme Court and UP Faculty of Law does not augur well for freedom of expression.

“Sa palagay ko kahit sensitibong issue ito because it touches the sensibilities of the justices, dapat pabayaan na lang. Palagpasin na lang dahil mas malalaki ang constitutional issues na hinaharap ng Supreme Court,” said Angara, former UP president.

He added: “Ang kailangan natin ay i-confront ‘yung big constitutional issues kaysa sa sideshow na katulad na ito. This is part and parcel and dynamics ng isang democratic society eh. Nabasa ko naman ‘yung position paper ng UP faculty. It’s a principled critique. You should not take offense.”

“It would be best for the Supreme Court to consider the matter a closed case and refrain from pursuing the contempt case against UP College of Law faculty members,” said Pangilinan, himself a graduate of the UP College of Law.

The High Court recently issued a “show-cause” order against 37 UP Law professors, asking them to explain why they should not be sanctioned in light of a statement they had issued asking Supreme Court Justice del Castillo to resign over the issue of plagiarism.

“The position taken by the UP faculty members on the issue finds solid support and is buttressed by the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno. This alone should prove that there is no basis to sanction the UP College of Law faculty members,” Pangilinan said.

“As a former member of the UP Law Faculty, it is my strong belief that any government official including members of the judiciary should not be thin-skinned about dissenting public opinion which is permitted in a democratic country like ours,” Escudero said.

“SC members, as all other government officials, are always under public visibility, thus criticisms such as that from the UP Law faculty should be taken constructively, especially given the fact that even our Supreme Court had the matter already investigated,” he added.

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