Helping the economy
A legal issue over a loan account has given rise to the need to go to court and the economic impact of litigation was highlighted as the principal amount is tied down pending the resolution of the case. The legal battle carries the other cost of opportunity loss for other rural based entrepreneurs who could have availed of the money if the initial transaction had been paid. We can just estimate the amount of frozen resources handcuffed to past due accounts or accounts in litigation awaiting the key to unlock them. That key is held by the judiciary and one way our courts can help speed up our economy is by making the litigation period more reasonable.
From a wider perspective, former Chief Justice Arturo Panganiban said in his column, “To propel the economy and achieve prosperity, President Aquino adopted economic policies, like the Conditional Cash Transfer program to ease immediately our poor people’s misery and foster the education and well being of their children. Also, he turned to public-private partnerships (PPP) to provide basic services, like power generation, water supply, toll ways, ports, etc.
He also said “When tackling legal issues arising from these programs, courts I think should use deferential interpretation. Long-term investors, the real backbone of the economy, expect jurisprudence to be stable, consistent and predictable. Courts should interfere only when specific contracts implementing these policies clearly violate the Constitution and the laws, or are tainted with grave abuse of discretion.”
Indeed, the legal conflicts we create from the choices we make have ways in helping the economy or otherwise. Financial institutions’ credit evaluation procedures impact the past due ratio in the same way as borrowers’ attitude expressed in investment and/or consumption practices. How we use our earned and/or borrowed money affects our economy.
Let us end with the following anecdote that will help us remember to help the economy. A local United Way office realized that it had never received a donation from the town's most successful lawyer. The person in charge of contributions called him to persuade him to contribute. "Our research shows that out of a yearly income of at least $500,000, you give not a penny to charity. Wouldn't you like to give back to the community in some way?" The lawyer mulled this over for a moment and replied, "First, did your research also show that my mother is dying after a long illness, and has medical bills that are several times her annual income?" Embarrassed, the United Way rep mumbled, Um...no. "--Or that my brother, a disabled veteran, is blind and confined to a wheelchair?" The stricken United Way rep began to stammer out an apology but was interrupted, "--or that my sister's husband died in a traffic accident," the lawyer's voice rising in indignation, "leaving her penniless with three children?!" The humiliated United Way rep, completely beaten, said simply, "I had no idea..." On a roll, the lawyer cut him off once again: "--so if I don't give any money to them, why should I give any to you?!?"*