The dying of nobility

By JASON BAGUIA |May 15,2018 - 09:27 PM


On the eve of the day her colleagues kicked out the 24th Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines, a small flock of Cebuanos gathered at their provincial capitol to pray.

They sat between chairs arranged midway between the statue of Lapu-Lapu, the first chieftain to fend off alien invaders, and the one of Sergio Osmeña, an important figure in Philippine Independence from the United States.

I joined the gathering a little past 8 p.m. We must have been less than 50 people, for we did not occupy even a fourth of the large square.
There were few speeches.

One speaker said the time was not for fiery rhetoric but for us to storm the heavens so that the hearts of the associate justices may be touched and they may obey the Constitution: A Chief Justice, like other impeachable officials, may only be removed by impeachment, not by quo warranto.

Alas, the high court voted 8-6 to give Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno the boot close to noon the next morning.

Does this mean the prayers said at the Capitol and elsewhere across the country have not been heard?

Were the candles lighted that night and in the next afternoon downtown on Colon street lighted and made to melt and evaporate in vain?

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of,” wrote the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The words were attributed to the dying King Arthur in Tennyson’s poem, “Morte d’Arthur.”

More candles are being lighted as I write. Cebu lawyers are registering their dissent in another protest. Will the ruling of the Court be overturned?

This is the hope of many.

Six justices inclined against Sereno did not inhibit on the quo warranto against her. They should have.

The Court, ordinarily not a trier of facts, made a pronouncement contesting the finding of the Judicial and Bar Council in 2012 that Sereno was well qualified to lead the judiciary.

The majority, in the eyes of many, read another way of removing a Chief Justice into the text of the Constitution.

If the Court should not reconsider and reverse its ruling, then we shall say with Tennyson and Sir Bedivere:

“Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?/ For now I see the true old times are dead,/ When every morning brought a noble chance,/ And every chance brought out a noble knight.”

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