‘Sereno erred as condonation doctrine was set by SC’
MANILA, Philippines–Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno has drawn more flak for scolding a lawyer of Makati Mayor Junjun Binay during the oral arguments before the Supreme Court on Binay’s suspension by the Ombudsman for alleged corruption.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Vicente Mendoza said Sereno should not have vented her frustration over the condonation doctrine on lawyer Sandra Marie Coronel.
“Don’t scold lawyers for invoking the doctrine. After all, that doctrine was laid down by the court itself,” Mendoza, who served in the high tribunal from 1994 to 2003, told reporters on Friday.
“And under the doctrine of stare decisis that is the law until by force of better reasoning the court erred in adopting the doctrine and decides to overrule it,” he said.
Coronel had used the doctrine in defending Binay from the Ombudsman’s order preventively suspending him for six months while he is being investigated in the alleged overprice of the Makati City Hall Building II.
The doctrine, set by the Supreme Court in 1959, states that administrative offenses by elected officials are deemed forgiven upon their reelection.
While interpellating Coronel during the oral arguments, Sereno described the doctrine as an “unfortunate doctrine made on legally insecure foundations” and an example of “bad case law.”
“Is this the kind of legal regime you want? We want to tell you this [doctrine] is wrong and you want to tell us to continue believing in this?” Sereno asked Coronel.
Mendoza said the Supreme Court’s choices in the Binay case were not limited to whether or not the condonation doctrine should be abandoned. He said the high court may simply “modify” or even “retain” the doctrine or may even opt to apply it for lesser offenses and revoke it for serious ones.
The condonation doctrine is also known as the “Aguinaldo doctrine,” taking its name from the 1992 Aguinaldo v Santos case, in which condonation was first reinforced by the Supreme Court under the
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.