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By Prince Golez

Malacañang lauded the Supreme Court (SC) decision rejecting the plea of a group seeking the government to implement free mass testing for coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Voting 13-1-1, the High Tribunal denied Wednesday the petition for mandamus filed by the Citizens Urgent Response to End Covid-19 because the petitioners failed to show that they are entitled to it.

A petition for mandamus seeks to order a tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or person to perform an unlawfully neglected duty.

“Sabi ng Korte Suprema, yun daw pong mga petitioners ay nabigo na gamitin nila yung mga remedyo administratively. They failed to exhaust administrative remedies, adding that meron pa namang mga plain and speedy remedy na magagamit nila sapagkat yung Executive Order No. 2 merong right to information,” Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said in his own program “Counterpoint.”

Still citing the SC ruling, Panelo asserted that “Hanggat hindi ka nagpapakita na ang isang opisyal diyan sa executive branch ay nabigo na gumawa ng kanilang trabaho na walang discretion kung hindi, in other words, no choice you have to do that because that is your duty under the law, eh walang kapangyarihan ang hukuman na mag-isyu ng mandamyento kahit na sinasabi mo pang yan ay emergency.”

The Court’s task, he added, is to interpret the meaning of law and not to intrude upon the powers of another branch of government.

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