Issue of May 13, 2018

70th Courier Anniversary Issue
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CJ Sereno is ousted

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has been ousted from office. Sen. Leila de Lima is in jail. Ombudsman Letty Carpio-Morales retires in July.

Only Vice President Leni Robredo remains. When she is unseated from her position by the election protest filed by Bongbong Marcos, then we would have cleansed the government from all the “witches.”

And only the “warlocks” will remain.

* * * * * * * * * *

My daughter, Noelle, a third year law student at the University of the Philippines College of Law, could not reconcile what was happening outside her school, with what is being taught within its confines. After hearing the news of the ouster of CJ Sereno, she wrote with obvious bitterness and emotion:

“When the ones who vowed to uphold the sanctity of the Constitution are the ones that choose to condone its violation – it’s a sad day to be a law student, a sad day for judicial independence, and a sad day for our country.

Shame on this administration that has continued to grossly disregard the rules of law.”

Normally, one gets to taste the difficulties that face the legal profession against the harsh and unjust realities of life, after one leaves the confines of the academe and goes out in the quest for justice in an imperfect world. It makes us grieve that our children get a taste of disappointment with law, while they are still in law school.

In answer to her disappointment, Noelle’s elder brother, Pablo II, quoted the late Sen. Jose “Pepe” Diokno:

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty.”

* * * * * * * * * *

A few weeks before the Sereno decision came out, we more or less already knew the outcome. Nevertheless, even with that knowledge, and perhaps more because of it, we asked some of the faculty members of the University of Baguio School of Law, to take a stand against the impending ouster of the Chief Justice by those of her own kind.

Dean Jose Manuel Diokno, the son of the late senator, had previously written:

“The time for us to take a stand, if we want to make a stand, is now. Because if we do not make a stand now, there may be nothing for us to stand for in the future.”

To our surprise, many courageously res-ponded.

To our colleagues in the UB School of Law, thank you for making a stand, even with the knowledge that it would prove futile. Making that stand was better than not standing up at all.

We can only paraphrase and dedicate to them by recalling the words of Pilosopo Tasyo in Noli Me Tangere:

“Not all were asleep in the dark night of the fatherland.”

* * * * * * * * * *

And it was also Ka Pepe who wrote during a similar time in our tortured history as a people, and gave us hope:

“And so law in the land died. I grieve for it but I do not despair over it. I know, with a certainty no argument can turn, no wind can shake, that from its dust will rise a new and better law; more just, more human, and more humane. When that will happen, I know not. That it will happen, I know.

* * * * * * * * * *

Our good friend Atty. Teddy Te, the spokesman for the Supreme Court, reported for work last Friday, the day that the Sereno decision would be announced, and brought with him two neckties, to prepare for the contingencies of the day.

One necktie was purple. The purple of the law and the legal profession. The other was a black necktie. Black as in mourning.

When he announced the Sereno decision on TV, he wore his black necktie. To me the symbolism was more touching and meaningful than his announcement.

Somehow we get the feeling that his days at the Supreme Court are numbered.

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