Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Supreme Court - "If the two political branches of government falter, only the Judiciary will remain to prop up the Republic."

See - https://www.philstar.com/opinion/2018/07/27/1837085/replacing-cj-sereno-becoming-inelegant
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Replacing CJ Sereno becoming inelegant
GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc 
(The Philippine Star) - July 27, 2018 - 12:00am
Sages had foreseen last May the inelegant effects of the Supreme Court ousting Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Morality, not legality, was the issue. Whoever justice votes for ouster would appear lusting for her position.

Eight of the 14 magistrates voted for ouster. Among them were three of the five most senior, now automatically nominated as CJ replacement. They are Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro, third in seniority; Diosdado Peralta, fourth; and Lucas Bersamin, fifth. One of the many issues against Sereno then was lack of experience – seniority – as magistrate. Sereno in turn accused the three, plus three others, of bias. They had testified against her in an aborted impeachment in Congress, so supposedly were inapt to sit in judgment of her in a quo warranto case in the SC.

Most senior of all justices is Antonio Carpio, thus acting-CJ during this vacancy, followed by Presbitero Velasco. Having voted against removing Sereno, it doesn’t look unseemly for either one to succeed her.

Still, as a matter of principle, Carpio has declined his automatic nomination. For him, Sereno’s removal was unjust, so he would not wish to benefit from it.

Becoming CJ is every lawyer’s dream. Twice before, in 2010 and 2012, Carpio automatically had been nominated for that highest Judiciary post. Yet although most senior those two times, he was bypassed by less tenured ones. Now Carpio is declining the post out of delicadeza. Retired CJ Hilario Davide and the all-lawyers Integrated Bar of the Philippines have begged Carpio to accept. So have many eminent citizens. Carpio’s stand is firm. Velasco has declined too, as he is retiring next month.

At first Justices Leonardo-De Castro, Peralta, and Bersamin held off from accepting nomination. Under the Constitution the Judicial and Bar Council must vet candidates for justice and judgeships, with at least three shortlisted per vacancy. The President has three months to fill any SC vacancy, in Sereno’s case by September.

Time is ticking away fast. This week a retired JBC member rushed the nomination of all 14 SC justices. On the eve of the JBC deadline yesterday for CJ applications and nominations, Leonardo-de Castro, Peralta and Bersamin accepted. One other did too, Justice Andres Reyes, among the eight who had fired Sereno.

The four may have noblest intentions for accepting nomination. Still, in light of Carpio’s principled declining, it sadly leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

The SC image needs buttressing. Political troubles loom: an extended fight for the Vice Presidency; a rush to shift to federal, possibly even parliamentary government; unconstitutional self-extension of congressional terms; political dynasties’ hang-on to power; worsening corruption and crime; economic decline; and China aggression. If the two political branches of government falter, only the Judiciary will remain to prop up the Republic.
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Read more at https://www.philstar.com/opinion/2018/07/27/1837085/replacing-cj-sereno-becoming-inelegant#wegdO1EyafmskoT8.99