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PIA Press Release

Commentary: Courts to advocate liberty and prosperity

General Santos City (31 October) -- in line with the development emphasis of the Arroyo administration, the Supreme Court under the visionary leadership of Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, an appointee of the President, gears the Philippine Courts into judicial reforms that would inplace the value of liberty and prosperity into Philippine jurisprudence. The reforms are modeled from the best practices and experiences of the judiciaries of number of foreign nations which successfully pioneered the reforms.

"In cases involving liberty, the scales of justice should weigh heavily in favor of the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, the dispossessed and the weak. Actions that restrict fundamental rights come to courts with a heave presumption against constitutional validity. In conflicts affecting policies on prosperity and development, as a rule, courts will not pass upon the merits of wisdom of economic policies by the President and Congress to evaluate and decide", Panganiban quipped.

"This calls for the legal professions' unity with the common folk and their struggles against hunger and dispossession. This is a commitment to free our people not only from fear but also from want; to liberate them not only from political tyranny but also from economic deprivation" Panganiban said.

The Supreme Court's advocacy is now gaining international support. Last Oct. 18-20, 2006, a global forum on liberty and prosperity was held and attended, among others, by the chief justices of the Supreme Courts of Benin, Botswana, Canada, France, Guam, Lao PDR, Lithuania, Micronesia, Nepal, Russian Federation and Slovak Republic. The activity was backed-up by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and the United States Agency for International Development, the DTI here disclosed. (Luzvimi/PIA Sargen) [top]

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