FOREWORD: REMEDIES: BREATHING LIFE TO RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW

 

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For the third issue of the Journal’s 86th volume, we have chosen the theme: Remedying the Remedies: Breathing Life to Rights under the Law. In this Issue, we seek to publish legal articles that review the existing framework provided by law for the enforcement of legal rights in the Philippines. Indeed, the availability of prompt, speedy, and effective remedies are crucial in any system of law as they provide the very means by which the vindication or recognition of substantive rights may be achieved.

 In Civil Forfeiture Proceedings in the Philippines, Assistant Solicitor General Renan Ramos provides a brief yet exhaustive overview of the Civil Forfeiture Law (Republic Act No. 1379), the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), as well as other relevant laws which outline the overall procedure for civil forfeiture of property and proceeds of illegal activities. He concludes by identifying weaknesses in the law and proposes solutions to strengthen the capability of the Government in upholding the time-honored adage that “crime does not pay.”

 In his article Taxonomy of Suits, Professor Solomon Lumba established an orderly classification of civil actions based on its natural features and relationships. This approach provides a macroscopic perspective which allows one to see the dichotomy between public and private suits and the interplay between various doctrines such as the political question doctrine, legal standing, ripeness, injury-in-fact, and transcendental importance.

 In Guarding the Guardians, Oscar Franklin Tan examines the shroud of judicial supremacy as outlined by contemporary political events and chronicled in the various landmark rulings of the Supreme Court. Tan contrasts the seemingly unfettered exercise of judicial power with the powers clearly compartmentalized by the Constitution for the Executive Branch of Government. In so doing, he recognizes the role of the President, especially one who enjoys with a clear and overwhelming electoral mandate, as a “bully pulpit” may serve as the means of restoring balance to the triumvirate of powers in the Philippine democratic arena.

In Stilted Standards of Standing, Bryan Dennis Tiojanco provides a fresh perspective to the doctrine of locus standi. His analysis reveals two schools of thought in the appreciation of the doctrine of locus standi. From these seemingly irreconcilable interpretations of the doctrine, he distills their common elements: the principle of non-preclusion, the more proper party rule, and the more appropriate forum. He then expounds on these elements and their essential role for a holistic understanding of the doctrine of legal standing and its prudent use in contemporary Philippine law.

 In their article A Dead Limb on the Quasi-judicial Tree, Darwin Angeles and Anne Jaycelle Sacramento examine a line of jurisprudence which effectively denies the availability of the remedy of annulment of final judgments by quasi-judicial agencies. The paper dissects the basis for such doctrine and analyzes its implications from the perspective of administrative law and procedural due process. They conclude their analysis by proposing a framework that reconciles existing laws and procedure that recognizes a remedy for the vindication of rights of party-litigants prejudiced by extrinsic fraud in proceedings before our quasi-judicial agencies.

 The law on evidence is among the most archaic yet, at the same time, most dynamic fields of law in the Philippine jurisdiction. In Caught in a Web[b] of Disarray, Mary Rhauline Lambino and Maria Angelica Paglicawan examine the doctrinal pronouncement made in perhaps the most riveting criminal prosecution in Philippine history, People v. Webb. The article focuses on the exculpatory value of DNA evidence and its inestimable significance as a post-conviction remedy which was lost following the Supreme Court’s perfunctory dismissal of the issue DNA evidence. The paper concludes with proposals for reform our law on DNA which seeks to serve as a silent witness for the beleaguered innocent.

 Finally, in Upholding Equity, Earla Kahlila Langit and Jewelynn Gay Zareno delve into the very essence of derivative suits as recognized in Philippine Corporate law – the vindication of the rights of a corporation at the initiative of its stockholders. The article closely analyzes contemporary jurisprudence which liberalized the elements of a derivative suit. The further trace its consequences which gave rise to the perennial problem of nuisance or harassment suits initiated by nominal stockholders instituted to further their personal interests but carried on under the guise of the corporation’s purported cause of action. They conclude that the reform of standards governing derivative suits is necessary to restore the remedy to conform to its original and inherent nature.

It is our hope that this issue may kindle the passion for legal reform by identifying inadequacies in the status quo and proposing meaningful solutions in our pursuit for the realization of a just, humane, and democratic society.

- The Issue Editors, Vol. 86, Issue No. 3