Childish and inutile

Nine associate justices snubbed the oath-taking of Chief Justice Sereno. Seven were not around for her first flag ceremony. Presumably, those justices wanted to demonstrate their disappointment and disapproval over the president’s disregard for the principle of seniority and Sereno’s willingness to abide by it. But, as demonstrations go, it was childish and inutile.

Sereno will remain chief justice for the next 18 years unless she resigns or is impeached, becomes incapacitated or dies. So unless the protesting justices can force her to quit or convince Congress to impeach her or if somehow they can incapacitate or kill her without getting caught, they will just have to live with the fact that she will remain their chief and none of them will ever head the Court.

For those associate justices who can’t live with Sereno and the “trashing” of the principle of seniority, former senator Rene Saguisag offered a suggestion, “To dramatize a passion for the principle of seniority, resign! As was done by Supreme Court Justice Florentino Torres in 1920 and my Evidence teacher, Court of Appeals Justice Pompeyo Diaz in 1954.” That’s the way mature and principled people behave.

Justices claim they hold dearly the practice of appointing the most senior justice to succeed an outgoing chief but evidence proves that they do not hold it as dearly as Justices Torres and Diaz.

Justice Reynato Puno did not resign when Gloria Arroyo skipped him for Justice Artemio Panganiban. He thought about it, he said, but he didn’t do it. Maybe the promise that he would succeed Panganiban after a year’s wait was good enough for him. Justice Antonio Carpio did not resign when Gloria Arroyo appointed Justice Renato Corona who was his junior. Now if Carpio could live with Corona then surely he can live with Sereno. Or is it a case of “Not once but twice!”

So what are these infantile associate justices going to do other than undermine their chief? Are they going to show their true colors and confirm once and for all the reason why out of all the thousands of lawyers qualified to serve as justices of the Supreme Court Gloria Arroyo handpicked them? Think about it. all things being equal, why were they chosen by Gloria? Read their decisions for the definitive answer.

Those justices should resign if only to demonstrate their respect for tradition. And the institution. They are not irreplacable. They are not the last bulwark against undemocratic tendencies if in fact there are any. They are not the finest examples of justice. In fact, as Arroyo appointees, they proved themselves champions of executive orders that not only gagged witnesses from testifying about anomalies but also as facilitators of Gloria Arroyo’s attempt to escape justice.

If those brats in robes are unhappy and unwilling to work then they should leave and make way for those who are willing to work their asses off to reform the judiciary and undo all the damage they have wrought. That’s the honorable thing to do, Your Honors. Rest assured none of you will be missed.

Goodbye and don’t let the door hit your asses on the way out.

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Uniffors.com. Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.

  • UPnnGrd

    These bratty justices really create a quandary. Apparently they are quite “masama ang loob” at President Noynoy and his “Sereno”-action. So what happens is this — future decisions of Pilipinas Supreme Court will be suspect for cases involving Noynoy Aquino or his KKK’s, this seems to be what these bratty justices have shown.

    One of the action-items for these judges is this — that they should inhibit themselves whenever there is a court-case that affects the Aquino clan. In the meanwhile to make sure that the bratty justices do NOT even get a chance to conspire to vote down a Noynoy proposal, then quickly it has to be done quickly… get them kicked out!!!! Ccivil society should get the needed one-hundred-so-many congressmen to conspire to meet on a certain week-end so they can all sign the impeachment documents.

  • UPnnGrd

    Wow!!! To suggest for blogworld distribution that Pilipinas Supreme Court justices will conspire to kill….. amazing!!

  • Those justices who were on the short list and are in a snit merely confirm that President Aquino was correct not to pick them. Many many people in private and public life scale the pyramid and get bumped off because the damn thing keeps getting narrower. Judges, of all people, ought to be rational rather than emotional. This shows exactly what a shambles the judiciary is in. No professional pride. No professional skill. Big ego. Small mind.

    • UPnnGrd

      Personalities and capabilities do not change overnight…. these justices surely were of the same mindset — snittly, petulant, emotional, ir- rational — surely they were the same persons months ago. Now I wonder about the wisdom of their 2012 or 2011 decisions, like were they correct when they decided on the Hacienda Luisita pricing? ( Heck… were they even correct about MOA-AD?? ) And soon they will decide on deLima ( and deLima’s claim of Malakanyang Police Powers allows Malakanyang to ignore Supreme Court orders ) surely these justices have to inhibit themselves when making ruling on that one, right?

      • Were they correct to rule that Ms. Arroyo could flee? I suspect case law in the Philippines is a shambles because favors and cash enter the picture, not rulings of law. I don’t know what the rules for inhibiting oneself are. Everyone can be perceived as biased. The question is, are they so engaged with the subject that they can’t be objective? I don’t think they need to inhibit on de Lima, just look at the law and what she did. Did she violate the law or not? It doesn’t seem like a political issue to me.

        • UPnnGrd

          Malakanyang’s POLICE POWERS gives Malakanyang the right to ignore the Supreme Court, that’s how PIlipinas law is written according to the interpretation by deLima. No one should really arfgue especially with a Malakanyang that invokes POLICE POWERS to SAVE THE REPUBLIC.