Brion: Corruption in the SC, unusual court rulings

In a Manila Bulletin article, Former Justice Arturo Dizon Brion wrote the following regarding corruption in the Supreme Court, hoping that, if indeed corruption exists, it be individual rather than collegial.

NOTE: In the Supreme Court, there are fifteen (15) Members, called Justices, including one (1) Chief Justice. In order to arrive at a decision, each member may cast one (1) vote. The opinion getting at least a majority (50%+1) of the votes wins.

[QUOTE STARTS HERE.] If the buzz around legal circles were also to be believed, corruption exists and is alive even in the Supreme Court. One active legal practitioner was once interviewed and she made this charge over national television. She backed out, however, when asked to explain by the court, claiming that what she said was not of her own personal knowledge.

If the charge were true, then no amount of collegiality can help the court or adjudication in this country; collegiality would even work to the advantage of the corrupt. In this situation, we can only hope that corruption, if indeed it exists, is individual and isolated. We should also pray that the corrupt ones will at some point be caught and exposed, or will eventually disappear into retirement and be replaced by justices made of sterner stuff.
Some unusual court rulings – a reality recognized independently of the allegations of corruption – have made people wonder what might have taken place behind the veil of judicial secrecy. I pointed out some of these cases in my book, The Judicial Journey, where I discussed, among others, the trust that the court deserves based on the cases decided during my time. One of the chapters in my book was aptly entitled The Resurrection Cases to reflect my comparison of the covered majority rulings with Lazarus who rose from the dead by the miracle of the Lord. I hope that these cases would be few and far between for the sake of the court as an institution and of the nation. [QUOTE ENDS HERE.]

SOURCE: The collegial Supreme Court (5th of a Series); Published October 17, 2017, 10:00 PM; By J. Art D. Brion (ret.);

Arturo Dizon Brion is a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He took his oath as a member of the Supreme Court on March 17, 2008.