Separation of powers: Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - July 3, 2019 - 12:00am

Sometimes the most innocent children just, out of the blue, ask the most difficult questions and then make us think of the most fundamental things. From the mouths of babes come some profound provocations that lead us to deep reflections.

My very young but loquacious grandson asked me a very basic but difficult question in political and constitutional law. He queried: What kind of human character should be in the executive branch of government? And how different should they be from those in the Senate and in the House, as well as those in the courts, especially the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals? Honestly, I was caught flat-footed and I could not give an answer that is correct enough to be accepted in the Bar exams, but couched in a language simple enough to be understood by a young boy. And so, I told him, give me 24 hours to think about it.

And so, here is how I replied the following day: Those in the Executive should be men and women of action because their mandate is to implement, to execute, to build and to deliver services and results. The Executive is symbolized by the hands. They are in-charge of action, of performance, of achievements. Those in the Senate and in the House should be good in deliberation, argumentation, and debate. They discuss and approve policies, programs, budgets, and plans to be implemented by the Executive branch. And so, senators and congressmen should be symbolized by the mouth or the tongue. They talk too much and they do not apologize for it because that is their reason for being.

And those in the courts, are trained to listen, to reflect and to think. Listening is very critical to judges and reading long and winded documents is critical to appellate justices. Listening, because the main job of judges is hearing, to conduct hearings. The, the symbols of judges should be the ear and the head.

They must be very attentive, keenly observant, sensitive to non-verbal cues, reflective, contemplative, and deliberative. They weigh the evidence, oral, documentary, and object. They determine the credibility of witnesses and the intrinsic values of their testimonies. They must be men and women of wisdom, probity, and independence.

And to make my explanation understandable to a very young and impressionable boy, I said that the executives are the hands, the legislators are the mouths, and the jurists are the ears and the heads. The hands are expected to work, to focus on their jobs without too much talking. Talking is for the senators and congressmen.

Those in the executive should implement the programs approved by the legislative. Those in the Senate and the House should formulate policies and laws. They should refrain from constructing bridges and roads. That is the job of the executive. They should focus on their work and not attempt to interfere making waiting sheds and basketball courts.

The judges should leave the talking to the senators and congressmen. They should cloister themselves and write decisions. There are thousands of pending cases, they should focus on them. The problem with our country is that senators and congressmen do a lot of investigations, which is the job of the Judiciary. And we have justices who deliver speeches as if they are legislators. I heard one magistrate who publicly expressed his opinion on foreign policy involving the South China Sea, and some executive officials making department orders that encroach on lawmaking. They are confusing my grandson.

josephusbjimenez@gmail.com

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