Judicial review vs. Political stability, economic welfare

QUESTION: In rendering a decision, should a court take into consideration the possible effect of its verdict upon the political stability and economic welfare of the nation?

ANSWER: No, because our courts are courts of law.

In the Philippine judicial system, courts may only consider the legal issues and the evidence admitted in a case. Political stability and the economic welfare of the nation are issues extraneous to the settlement or resolution of actual controversies. They can have persuasive influence but they are not the main factors that should be considered in deciding a case.

Absent a law allowing courts to consider such extraneous issues, a decision must be based on an interpretation and application of law and rules of procedure. ALTERNATIVE ANSWER: Yes, because our courts are also courts of equity and justice, especially in cases when the law is silent, obscure or insufficient.

In exceptional cases the court may consider the political stability and economic welfare of the nation when these are capable of being taken into judicial notice of and are relevant to the case. For example, in La Bugal B'Laan Tribual Association v. Ramos, the Supreme Court considered the economic condition of the Philippines. In Marcos v. Manglapus, the Court affirmed the validity President Cory's ban against the Marcoses' return to the Philippines, invoking the political stability of the nation.