MANILA, Philippines — Acknowledging the need to adapt to changing times while protecting peoples’ rights, Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said the Supreme Court is reviewing its rules on the extraordinary writs of kalikasan and amparo.
Speaking to the members of the press for the first time, Gesmundo on Friday said that upon the assumption of his post, he directed the Office of Court Attorneys to research materials related to the writ of kalikasan and amparo for a review on their rules.
Innovation and adapting to times
In 2020, Advocacy group Kapatid, which led the families of political prisoners in filing their petition for humanitarian release, urged the SC to promulgate rules on the writ of kalayaan.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen discussed, in his separate opinion on Almonte v. People, a potential writ of kalayaan geared towards jail decongestion. Leonen said: “It shall be issued when all the requirements to establish cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment are present” and “provide an order of precedence to bring the occupation of jails to a more humane level.”
For the writ of kalayaan, Gesmundo stressed that this is an innovation that would need a thorough study. He admitted that this may take time.
“You have to consider a lot of factors before arriving in those, or adopting those rules, because they have to make sure that we do not deviate from what the constitution requires or allow us to do consistent that may be allowed to adopt rules concerning the protection of Constitutional rights,” he said.
The political prisoners lost their case for temporary release under humanitarian grounds before the SC. The tribunal instead told lower courts to resolve issues raised in their petition “with dispatch.”
The chief justice, however, assured that the Supreme Court “will adopt rules as the exigencies require in order that these constitutionally-guaranteed rights are fully protected.”
The Constitution vests the SC with the power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement or rights, pleading, practice and procedure in all courts.
Gesmundo noted that some may question this authority, but asserted that the SC “will promulgate those rules when it finds it necessary only that it must be within the parameters of the Constitution.”
“Things change over time. And as I said earlier, the Court must be able to adapt to these changing times so when the circumstances should warrant for the Court to adopt this, I’m sure my colleagues will not hesitate to adopt those rules,” he added.
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