SC reversal on PAL employees’ case casts doubt on image as ‘court of last resort’

October 12, 2011

Maila Ager
Inquirer.net
October 11, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The reversal of a final ruling by the Supreme Court on the plight of Philippine Airline employees has cast doubt on its image and reputation as the “court of last resort” and a “bulwark of democracy,” Senator Francis “Kiko”Pangilinan said on Tuesday.

“The Supreme Court ruling is a cause of serious concern. Regardless of the parties involved and the arguments given, the public perception it creates casts doubt on the image and reputation of the Supreme Court as the court of last resort and a bulwark of democracy,” Pangilinan said in a text message.

“How can the public know for certain that a case will be decided with finality when its decisions can so quickly be recalled? The uncertainty it brings is a cause for concern especially for countless of petitioners who have pending cases before the highest court of the land,” he said.

The Court recalled the decision of the Second Division, ordering the reinstatement of 1,400 PAL flight attendants, saying it should have been handled by the tribunal’s Special Third Division.

Unlike Pangilinan, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile saw nothing wrong with the reversal of the decision, saying the tribunal has the power to reverse the decision of its division.

“The highest organ of the Supreme Court is the Supreme Court itself, which is en banc. Yung mga [These] divisions are only to expedite the disposition of other cases but the entire court can reverse a division,” he told reporters.

Enrile also defended the tribunal against criticisms that the reversal of the final ruling would be unfair to PAL employees.

“Every decision of the Supreme Court raises an unfairness. You can’t make both sides win. You have to make a decision based on law, equity and justice,” he said.

“I’m sure the members of the Supreme Court being seasoned lawyers and seasoned juries will not just throw out their own decision if there’s no reason for it. Yo have to presume good faith. I don’t presume malice on their part,” Enrile added.

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