Philippines Supreme Court ‘trampled upon principles of criminal law and procedure,’ says SolGen

Jun. 03, 2007

Motion for reconsideration to be filed against SC ruling on “Batasan 6”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) was saddened and apprehensive with the recent 23-page ruling of the Supreme Court dismissing the rebellion case against six party-list representatives dubbed the “Batasan 6” and their co-accused, who purportedly conspired in an armed revolt to overthrow the government.

According to the DOJ, the dismissal is fraught with far-reaching and adverse consequences on our criminal justice system. Thus, through the Solicitor General, the DOJ will file a motion for reconsideration.

In a statement, Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera said “time-honored and well-established principles on criminal law and procedure were seemingly trampled upon.”

She likewise expressed some wariness on the SCs dismissal ruling. “Actually, my office has not been officially served with a copy of the decision, so all my information comes from print and broadcast media reports,” she said. “But based on what I have read, there are compelling reasons to file for a motion for reconsideration.”

When asked to expound, Devanadera explained that a motion for reconsideration would be “in the interest of preserving the long-established principles on criminal law and procedure, which are in place for the protection of both the accused and the state.”

Moreover, the Solicitor General noted that this may include the determination of probable cause by the prosecutor and the trial court, as well as upholding the hierarchy of court.

“After all, the Office of the Solicitor General is not only the statutory counsel of government, but also the tribune of the people,” Devanadera emphasized.

Others were also quick to point out that the decision may send the wrong impression to the citizenry about the hierarchy of our courts.

“With this ruling, the Supreme Court may have unwittingly set a dangerous precedent. The determination of probable cause is done on the level of the prosecutors or the trial courts. With what has happened, the Supreme Court may find itself clogged with cases,” said a group of lawyers from the DOJ. (OPS)

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