Light inside the darkness

By Raymund Fernandez May 15,2018

RAYMUND FERNANDEZ

Chiaroscuro is the Italian word for light and shade.

It is a principle every young artist learns early.

Everything is a balance of light and dark.

You need light to reveal the dark in the same way you need the dark to reveal the light.

Last week’s ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno may prove to be the darkest moment of the history of the Philippine Republic. B

ut inside this darkness, one sees much more clearly the glimmers of heroic light.

And it is clear how we have reduced ourselves as a republic to the most blatant displays of raw power without forethought for long-term consequence.

The ouster of CJ Sereno demonstrates in a most symbolic sense what the majority of the Supreme Court can do simply by dint of sheer number.

But the symbolism does not end there.

Symbolism is always a double-edged sword.

The majority report in this particular case makes for unexciting reading compared to the minority reports now currently going viral on the social networks.

Equally interesting are the views of lawyers, members of the Bar, who are raising their voices as never before.

They ask what the long-term implications are of the Supreme Court’s decision to grant the quo warranto petition against CJ Sereno.

This move violates the constitution by setting a precedent for ousting a Supreme Court Justice through other means besides impeachment.

But the more fundamental question is really why they were afraid to impeach the Chief Justice.

By going the way of quo warranto, Sereno’s detractors put to question the possible case for impeachment they could have raised against Sereno at the Senate.

Right away, we recall visions of the late SC Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment.

We imagine CJ Sereno inside the same forum.

There would be live coverage, of course. Any decision by that impeachment court would have enough drama to compete with the telenovelas of primetime television. It would have been interesting to see how the erudite Sereno might have answered the charges against her. We had a preview of those charges. But we would have seen court room drama to equal a novel by John Grisham.

How would Sereno have defended herself? We would have seen the drama of how the rule of law and democracy works in our country. It would have clarified collective discernment for the true state of our country.

Was it precisely for the fear of this, that they were afraid to put Sereno before an impeachment court? Is this more likely than not?

As it turned out, they went for the darker path; notwithstanding it involved quo warranto, something that immediately puts to question the very principle of the rule of law in our country and republic.

And from the Supreme Court, no less. Such an historical error as may require an historical remedy in the run of time

. The darkness has never been this clear. But inside the darkness the unmistakable glimmers of heroic light.

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