Stop the slaughter

By: Editorial May 13,2018 - 08:54 PM

Radel Paredes, one of our Sunday columnists gave an interesting picture of our national situation in yesterday’s edition of Cebu Daily News.

“Today, we see the gradual slaughter of our democracy once again as feathers are being plucked one after another,” said Paredes, a University of San Carlos professor.

“The latest is the removal of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno with the clever sweep of a vote in favor of quo warranto by the same magistrates who accused her in the first place,” he added.

“Now, we have a Supermajority in Congress and a Judiciary that has just lost its independence, all in favor of the Executive. Still, a few more feathers await to be plucked before the chicken is cut up and dumped into the cauldron.”

Indeed, the national situation is dire, and it behooves every good citizen to ensure that the battle to defend democracy is well-fought on all fronts.

This begins with the campaign for the High Court to reverse its decision to oust Sereno that has begun in earnest in the discourse of dissenting justices.

We quote crucial parts of the dissent of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen:

“Granting the Quo Warranto Petition as the majority proposes, is tantamount to empowering the Solicitor General, a repeat litigant representing the current political administration, far more than any other constitutional officer,” Leonen said.

“The Solicitor General will be granted the competence to what amounts to a reconsideration of the determination of the Judicial and Bar Council and the President as to the qualifications of any appointed judge or justice.”

Leonen’s points should be seriously considered by the Court in reviewing its decision lest they go down in history as checkers of excess on any branch or instrumentality of the government who are themselves excessive.

Senators beginning with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III have lambasted the Court’s decision, though with belated force.

Their points should be heard, being the supposed impeachment trial jurors solely empowered by the Constitution to determine if an impeachable officer like the Chief Justice is worth removing.

In the end, the High Court must not pretend that in granting the quo warranto petition, they are not complicit in the current dispensation’s plucking of Philippine democracy, feather by feather until it is sacrificed in the cauldron of totalitarianism.

“The idea is simple, clearly stated in the Constitution, and consistently upheld by the Court in its jurisprudence before today,” Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa’s own dissent partly reads. “Impeachable officers, by express constitutional command, may only be removed from office by impeachment.”

“By ousting the Chief Justice through the expediency of holding that the Chief Justice failed this ‘test’ of integrity,” Caugioa added, “it is actually the Court that fails.”

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