Chat Session with Chief Justice Hilario Davide
July 10, 2003/2:00-3:00PM
Carn Abella (Chat Moderator) enters chatroom.
Carn Abella: WELCOME to the RMAF's "Thursday Chats with Magsaysay Awardees". We are honored that CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO DAVIDE, our 2002 Awardee for Government Service will join us in today’s chat interaction. Welcome Hon. Chief Justice Davide! We are also glad to welcome the faculty and students of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) - Law Center, headed by Dean Ernesto Pineda. Also, welcome to Val Baac and Donna Lagdameo from the Graduate School of Public Development and Management- DAP. Welcome to the students of Ateneo Law School, Toby Purisima of the Ateneo Law Journal and Analiza Su, Student Council VP for External Affairs. We are also glad to welcome a participant from India, Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, Convenor and Founder of the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR).
Chief Justice Davide: Good afternoon
Carn Abella: Before we begin the session, allow me to state why the Foundation has set-up this chatroom in the RMAF website. We believe that one of the best ways to spread the good news about the lives and work of over 200 Magsaysay Awardees is to have as many people as possible meet and converse with these outstanding individuals. Internet technology allows us to have the rare opportunity to chat on line and in real time with our Magsaysay Awardees also known as Asia's Living Heroes.
Carn Abella: In this one hour session, you will have the chance to get first hand updates on Chief Justice Davide's current work and thoughts on THE RULE OF LAW IN TIMES OF TRANSITION and JUDICIAL REFORMS TO SUSTAIN DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE. Please be reminded that we have only one hour so may I request that we state our questions and ideas in brief and concise form. At this point may we now request our Awardee to state his thoughts about the topic afterwhich we request the other chat participants to join in the discussion or post their questions.
Chief Justice Davide: The rule of law is a universal democratic concept. which should be true at all times not just in times of transition. without the rule of law there will be chaos and instability and transition may result not in the accomplishment of the desired objective which is the promotion of democracy but may itself be a deterrent to the strengthening of democracy.
Chief Justice Davide: It is even believed that democracy and the rule of law contradict each other yet the rule of law is vital precisely in sustaining democracy.
Chief Justice Davide: As to judicial reform to sustain democratic governance, it can even be truly said that since the judiciary is the last bulwark of democracy and the bastion of liberty reform in the judiciary is the key to sustain and promote and strengthen democracy. indeed, judicial reform is the key to good governance and good governance ensures the preservation of democracy.
Carn Abella: Can I invite the chat participants to react to the Chief Justice's initial thoughts or post their questions now?
Val: Miss Carn Abella, this is Val from DAP. I have a question for the Hon. Chief Justice: "As a co-equal branch of government, what measures are being undertaken by the SC with regard to the preservation and strengthening of the democratic process(es) in our beloved country the Philippines?"
Chief Justice Davide: We are aggressively pursuing the vision-mission statement under the Davide Watch, which is a judiciary that is independent, effective and efficient and worthy of public trust and confidence. this means that the pursuit of excellence in ensuring the delivery of speedy, fair, impartial and equal justice must at all times be the goal of the justice system
Toby: Mr. Chief Justice, it is said that history has shown that good and impartial magistrates lend stability to their people. Judges should not only be impartial and honest but also appear to be impartial and honest if they are to gain and maintain the trust and respect of the people. A good judge will rather be right than popular, and that is not an easy thing to do. It has been said that the best assurance of a truly independent judiciary is the conscience of upright and God-fearing judges. How do you react to this, Your Honor?
Chief Justice Davide: Democracy is best preserved only when justice is done for it has been truly said that people may be able to endure poverty but never injustice.
Chief Justice Davide: to Toby: I fully agree with you, for indeed that is exactly what we demand from our magistrates. magistrates do not just administer and dispense human justice but God-inspired justice, based on truth and love and fear of God.
Donna: What role does the rule of law play in times of people power?
Carn Abella: Welcome Dr. Lenin from India. We understand that you are actually joining us from Nepal right now. Please feel free to post your questions and ideas to the Chief Justice.
Toby: Thank you very much, Your Honor.
Chief Justice Davide: to Donna: as I have said the rule of law must be true and also preserved at all times. people power is fundamentally based on the right of the people to demand justice, to prevent oppression, for the full enjoyment of their constitutional rights and guarantees. people power is even essential in any democratic society and for as long as it is not for any evil motive but only for the good of the country and in accordance with the constitutional principles, the rule of law is preserved for verily the rule of law includes people empowerment.
pvchr: I believe in democracy . I know the role of judiciary in era of conflict.
Anna: Mr. Chief Justice, in relation to what Toby posted, I think it is essential in a Third World country like ours that the members of the judiciary appear impartial. What has been the SC doing in order to preserve an appearance of fairness and impartiality especially during these times?
pvchr: I want to know about role of judiciary. What is your opinion?
Carn Abella: CJ, Sir, would you have any thoughts on the role of the judiciary specifically in times of conflict, as Dr. Lenin intimated?
Carn Abella: Welcome law students of PLM. Salamat at nakapasok na kayo sa chatroom.
PLM Community: We are delighted to have a chat with our Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide today. The PLM Community is represented by the Dean of the College of Law, Atty. Jose M. Roy, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Ms Julieta Hernandez, Law and Liberal Arts professors and students, and the fellows from the Ramon Magsaysay School of Public Governance of PLM.
Anna: I ask that Your Honor because people's opinions more often than not precede from impressions.
Val: CJ, Sir, If there is any legacy that the Davide administration of the SC would best be remembered - what would that be?
Chief Justice Davide: to Anna: we have been doing everything not only to be truly fair, impartial and objective and to appear as such. we want our impartiality and fairness not only to be virtuous from within but virtuous to be perceived and seen. indeed, there are criticisms against the court and against the justices during these times but as i have repeatedly said we are strengthened in our resolve never to yield to any sinister plot that seeks to undermine the integrity and the dignity of the Supreme Court and its members and the entire judiciary. against these attempts to smear us, we shall prevail because we know that we have not done anything which good men may consider as inconsistent with the demands of fairness, objectivity, impartiality.
Carn Abella: CJ, Sir, in response to Val's question, would you like to refer him to your 10-point judicial reform agenda? This may also enlighten Dr. Lenin and the others
Chief Justice Davide: to Val: frankly, it might still be too early to determine which should be the best legacy. however, I would say that the successful implementation of our comprehensive judicial reform program under our action program for judicial reform may be easily considered one of them.
pvchr: CJ, Sir, I want to know about role of judiciary in era of conflict. What is your opinion?
Chief Justice Davide: Our reform agenda is embodied in what I stated earlier as the action program for judicial reform or APJR. it covers all areas of the justice system to ensure what I had envisioned in the vision-mission statement of the Davide Watch of independence which carries with it accountability and effectiveness and efficiency and the strengthening of the faith and confidence of the people in the system. the APJR is comprised of 6 components, the court systems component which shall address the issue on procedures to ensure speedy delivery of justice, the 2nd is institutional development component which seeks to strengthen the system by way of greater fiscal autonomy and independence from the other organs of government specially in the matter of appointments to the judiciary, the third is human resource development which I need not elaborate because it means recruitment, promotion, retention and compensation. the fourth is institutional integrity which addresses the issue of graft and corruption and installs measures to prevent graft and corruption therefore develop high moral values
Chief Justice Davide: the 5th is access to justice by the poor. this responds to what I said earlier that people may be able to endure poverty but never injustice. in this area we have measures that guarantee not only substantive and procedural steps to bring justice to the poor and the underprivileged and 6th, the reform support system component. this is the area where we would institutionalize the reforms and make them as the reforms not just of the supreme court but of all the stakeholders of the justice system through education, information, communication and sustain funding.
Carn Abella: CJ Sir, thank you for the concise summary of your reform areas. Perhaps the chat participants can focus their questions on the APJR that the CJ has mentioned, and chat with him on the progress of these reforms as well as the major obstacles he is facing in pushing for the reform actions to be implemented
Chief Justice Davide: Would the others wish to repeat their questions?
Toby: Your Honor, you have consistently said that you are willing to die for the Judiciary. Reflecting on the current drama involving our country's judicial institutions, where do you draw inspiration to continue your vocation as a zealous public servant?
Anna: Mr. Chief Justice, can you please comment on the observation that there is too much judicial intervention in our country?
Chief Justice Davide: to Anna: if by judicial intervention you mean intervention in cases filed before us, yes. that is our constitutional duty to decide actual controversies involving rights which are demandable and to determine whether any other organ or agency of the government has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction amounting to lack of jurisdiction. when cases are filed before the courts we cannot shirk from our responsibility and duty to resolve them.
Chief Justice Davide: to toby: I draw inspiration from the light from above, the Supreme Law Giver and from my oath as Chief Justice which demands total and absolute commitment to duty and loyalty to the service
PLM Community: Mr. Chief Justice, up to what extent should the rule of law be subject to equity considerations?
Chief Justice Davide: to Dr. Lenin: distinction may be necessary to determine what kind of era of conflict you are referring to. if it is a conflict cost by war, on the assumption that court could still function, the court can stand as the bastion of the rights and freedoms of the people and the bulwark of justice, if the conflict is because of conflicting ideologies and cases are brought before the court, the court can be a catalyst in determining and resolving the conflicts in accordance with the fundamental law.
Chief Justice Davide: to PLM: the rule of law is of course based on law, meaning it is observance of the constitution and the laws enacted pursuant to the constitution. frankly, I cannot answer now to what extent would equity have in the consideration of the rule of law although when it comes to deciding cases we always say that our courts in the Philippines are courts of both law and equity.
Val: Thank you very much CJ, Sir for the time you have shared with us. Mabuhay po kayo! Daghang salamat sa imong matinagdanong kagawian.
Anna: Mr. Chief Justice, can you please comment on another observation that the manner of appointing members to the higher courts needs a reevaluation? If so, would the judiciary play a role in that or would that be entirely legislative and executive work?
Val: CJ, Sir can we still give more teeth to our Barangay Justice System?
Chief Justice Davide: to Anna: if you refer to some changes in the composition of the judicial and bar council the same can be done only by way of a constitutional amendment. let me stress, however, that the judicial and bar council has promulgated a set of rules to guide the council in the evaluation and assessment of the qualifications of candidates for vacancies in judicial posts and in every case the council will submit to the president a list of at least three nominees for every vacancy.
SC-PMO: With Your Honor's permission, may I take this space to inform everybody that should they have further questions on the Reform Program of the Judiciary, they may contact the PMO at 552-9579 to 88 or they may e-mail us their queries at firstname.lastname@example.org or they may visit the office at the 6th floor Supreme Court Centennial Bldg., P. Faura cor Taft Ave.
Chief Justice Davide: Thank you very much and may God bless you all. Good day.
Chief Justice Davide leaves chatroom
Carn Abella: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, for your enlightening and gracious responses to the many queries and comments. Thank you also to our very active participants.
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