SC to judges: Beware of warrants vs poll rivals
BAGUIO CITY — Judges must be wary of issuing warrant applications that may be used by candidates in the May 13 elections against their rivals, Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said.
“All judges are hereby reminded and advised to remain impartial and nonpartisan, and be very circumspect in acting on applications for search warrants to preclude the courts from being used for election purposes,” Marquez said in a court circular.
The circular addressed reports that the courts were being used by unscrupulous politicians to obtain search warrants against their rivals during the election period.
Citing a 1937 Supreme Court decision, Marquez said, “Of all the rights of a citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and happiness than the right of personal security, and that involves the exemption of his private affairs, books and papers from inspection and scrutiny of others.”
He continued: “While the power to search and seize is necessary to the public welfare, still it must be exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the constitutional rights of the citizen, for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to justify indifference to the basic principles of government.”
Marquez warned that judges were liable for grave abuse of discretion. —VINCENT CABREZA
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