SC dismisses petition calling for free mass testing in PH

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The Supreme Court has rejected the petition of a group of health advocates for the Philippine government to conduct free mass testing for the coronavirus amid rising cases of infections in the country.

In a resolution dated September 1, the SC en banc denied the petition for mandamus filed by the Citizens Urgent Response to End COVID-19 (CURE COVID-19) led by its spokesperson, former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo “for failure of petitioners to show that they are entitled to the issuance of a writ of mandamus.”
A petition for mandamus seeks to order a tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person to perform an unlawfully neglected duty.
According to the court, this will only be the appropriate remedy where “the law prescribes and defines the duty to be performed with such precision and certainty as to leave nothing to the exercise of discretion or judgment.
“The job of the Court is to say what the law is, not dictate how another branch of government should do its job,” the SC said in its resolution.
“Without a demonstration that an official in the executive branch failed to perform a mandatory, nondiscretionary duty, courts have no authority to issue a writ of mandamus, no matter how dire the emergency,” it added.
SC also said the petitioners failed to exhaust other remedies as they could have gone to other government agencies such the Health, Interior and other departments, even the Office of the President. 

The magistrates voted 13-1-1, with Associate Justice Marvic Leonen dissenting and Associate Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla on leave.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen dissented, saying the constitutional provisions relied on by petitioners have been declared self-executory by the Supreme Court in a 2014 ruling.

This is the 5th time in recent months that the SC has dismissed outright a petition filed before it, without requiring respondents to comment. 

PBBM: Philippines facing water crisis

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Spread the loveMANILA — President Marcos has signed an executive order creating a water resource management office (WRMO) as part of efforts to