SC hoards evidence on Sereno’s public attacks on Justices: Simple legal case twisted into good vs evil tale
The Supreme Court is going after ousted Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno for vilifying its members and the institution in various speaking engagements nationwide over the last two months just to save her ass from the quo warranto case filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
Aside from kicking Sereno out with an 8-6 vote last Friday, the SC majority also sought to disbar Sereno for violating the sub Judice rule and “casting aspersions and ill motives” the High Court magistrates designed to affect the results of the Court’s collegial vote and influence public opinion
In his majority opinion, Associate Justice Noel Tijam Tijam said that while the SC had been “extremely tolerant” of Sereno’s grandstanding at her peers’ expense, it could not overlook her open and blatant violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Code of Judicial Conduct, specifically the sub Judice rule which prohibited disclosures and comments on pending cases.
Tijam said the SC members were not being “unreasonably sensitive” to Sereno’s attacks. “This Court cannot be apathetic to and is not helpless against such attacks, but the prudent thing to do is to stand and deal with it head on,” said Tijam.
Tijam said Sereno has “falsely conditioned” the mind of the public that the quo warranto case seeking her disqualification for her failure to submit statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) was a fight for democracy and judicial independence.
Tijm noted that Sereno had chosen to besmirch the reputation of the Justices and SC in media-covered forums while refusing to participate in the impeachment hearings in the Congress and recognize the SC’s jurisdiction. Sereno even had the gall to claim she was being deprived of due process when “she herself chose to litigate her case before the media.”
“What should otherwise be a purely legal, calm and sober approach to the present controversy into . a detestable feast of pros and cons, and of a mediocre and haphazard approximation of a perceived good versus evil,” said Tijam.
Tijam listed 10 speaking forums where Sereno openly talked about the merits of her case and threw mud at the Justices:
As proof that Sereno has achieved her goal of conditioning the mind of the public, Tijam cited a manifesto by a group of lawyers published in the Inquirer which urged the SC to: “Obey the code of judicial conduct. Compel the inhibition of the ‘Biased 5’. Dismiss the illegal quo warranto petition.”
He said the statement with its “threatening tenor” has shown that some lawyers have made their “pre-judgment.” “It could readily be seen that such statements do not only ‘tend to’ but
categorically force and influence the deliberative and decision-making
process of this Court,” Tijam said.