Former Chief Justice Presided Her Own Demise

Manila – Dura lex sed lex, the “law maybe harsh, but it is the law”.

The oppressive summer temperature in Manila is perhaps exhausting; but, the current events in the homeland is riveting.

Barangay Elections, supposedly a civic election turns out to be a full blown partisan political exercise with all the hoopla of campain posters and blaring campaign speeches dominate the day.

But nothing is as absorbing as the news that hogs the headlines and front pages of print media about the ouster of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In less than a decade, two highest magistrates of the land were removed. The first one, was by via impeachment carried out by Congress and Senate; the second ocassion was by quo warranto case decided in favour by the collegial body, the Supreme Court.

I construe, removal of rank officials in government service under Duterte Administration is a norm, not unusual. Star ranked military officers were arrested, Cabinet Secretaries were fired, elected officials get imprisoned, and many more.

Indeed, it is fun in the Philippines.

When I heard the news the highest official of the Supreme Court was removed from office not through impeachment; but, by the slim majority decision of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court when they granted affirmation of the quo warranto case filed by the Solicitor General, I murmured, “The Supreme Court turned activist”.

Those in opposition argue the removal of the Chief Justice other than impeachment proceedings is unsconstitutional. The contention, however, of the Solicitor General, is, the case is not about the commission of impeachable offense perpetrated by the former Chief Justice; but, in the beginning the removed highest magistrate of the land is not eligible to be appointed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. It appears the selection committee erred in shortlisting the ousted former Chief Justice for appointment.

Owing to constraint of space, I shall no longer essay the litany of deficiences on the part of the removed Chief Justice.

Rather, I will let the readers discover for themselves the distinction of impeachable offence from quo warranto petition.

I am estopped to make known in public what my personal view is about the whole matter. Former Chief Justice Sereno is a friend of my friend. I do not desire to strain my friendly relations with common friends.

But, I will repeat myself by citing my observation that the Supreme Court turned activist when they decided in favour the quo warranto petition filed by the Solicitor General. That woefully, the former Chief Justice presided over her own demise when she decided otherwise to break her indefinite health leave.