Abuse of power by a judge?
Of late, a Baguio City traffic enforcer removed the license plate of the car of a judge of a lower court in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija illegally parked in the central business district. The judge later issued a subpoena for the traffic enforcer to appear before his court to explain why he should not be cited for contempt of court. A court can send a person to jail for being in contempt of court or make him pay a fine which can be big, amounting to several thousands of pesos.
Being cited in contempt of court means a person was adjudged to have insulted the court or otherwise had acted in way as to delay the dispensation of justice. Insulting the court results in impairment of the authority of a judge to dispense justice. For how can a person who is not respected dispense justice or judicial function?
The city mayor took the side of the traffic enforcer. If a law enforcer for doing his job is left to hang in the air against a person in authority, how can the law be enforced.
Let’s recall that Manila motto plastered all over the city when Alfredo Lim was mayor of that city, “The law applies to all, or none at all!” Whether or not that is grammatically wrong, the message was delivered loud and clear. Yes, the law applies to all, more so to a judge or any person in authority.
The latest news on the matter is that the judge was made to explain his action to the Supreme Court, through the Office of the Court Administrator. Apparently, the action of the judge was abuse of power. While it was not clear in the news the whole order of the Supreme Court, it must have included words to this effect: “Explain why you should not be subjected to disciplinary action for what you did.”
Such episode reflects how persons in power are usually looked at in the lowlands. They expect to be venerated like they were royalty. This is a carry over from the colonial days when Filipinos were treated as lowly subjects and made to venerate at all times the colonizers like they were honorable when they were a bunch of exploiters or cheaters.
Another bad thing among the powers-that-be in the lowlands is their corruption. They think that government coffers are their piggy banks. Unfortunately, this has rubbed off to our Cordilleran politicians. SOP or grease money is the byword hereabouts when it came to getting government projects or contracts. In Baguio City, however, there is an expectant air that the new administration will be consistent with its announced intent to cleanse the city of corruption. Yet there are still reported corrupt practices among the lower bureaucrats.
So no matter how the Supreme Court will deal with the acts of the aforesaid judge, it is worth repeating what we had been repeating (ad nauseum) here that abuse of power or authority will always result in really bad karma to the perpetrator. **