The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

Madam Cheap Justice

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on August 25, 2018 23:43

0 user

The accuser, the witness, and the judge who led the ouster of the chief justice is now the cheap justice.

Gone are the days when the highest court of the land was the last bulwark of democracy, reason, and stability. Today, it has become the playing field of unscrupulous politicians and ambitious lawyers who take turns in stroking their bloated ego, appointing themselves to positions reserved for those qualified and backed by an outstanding record of service to the country.

Welcome to the Supreme Court of the Philippines, a court that used to be the institution that was apolitical, dedicated to the dispensation of justice, and the protector of democracy. Now marred by professional jealousy and overly politicized, Rodrigo Duterte has populated it with lapdogs of associate justices who agree to everything he said. It is then tempting to say that the court has given up its role as the conscience of the land and the last bastion of institutional integrity.

A vindictive president has to repay political debts by appointing those who helped him in his political vendetta against the former Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno. Teresita Leonardo-De Castro was associate justice when she accused, testified against, judged, and led the ouster of the then sitting chief justice with a blessing from Duterte.

Now she's the newly appointed chief justice who will serve until she retires in October 2018. She is chief justice only for less than two months since the law has imposed a mandatory retirement for supreme court justices at the age of 70.

De Castro's appointment is a brazen display of the absence of a sense of propriety in public service; and it also speaks of the president's state of mind, his erratic judgment, and his valuing political debts over caring for the good of the republic. That high positions in government are about the personal ambitions of individuals than about thinking for the welfare of the country.

The dream of reforming the country's justice system is still a long way to go. We have a criminal justice that lags behind that of our neighbors -- overcrowded prisons and slow justice. Efforts had been made by the previous chief justice to speed up the cases and decisions despite the meager budget Congress allocated to the courts. The impending reforms need years to accomplish, and definitely cannot be done within two months.

After unceremoniously defrocking Sereno, Duterte has made the Supreme Court a house of jesters and a pet shop selling dogs with waggly tails. What can De Castro accomplish as the highest magistrate in two months but veering the court away from respectability?

As Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin put it, "Never in the history of modern democracy that such blatant disregard for decency was shown than in this case. It was a classic case of patronage, where I scratch your back, you scratch mine."

No wonder some folks have made fun of the president's latest appointment calling her Cheap Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro. Indeed, she has cheapened the bar of the country's supreme judicial institution.

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on August 25, 2018 23:43

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Source: Reuters
2

MANILA (Reuters) - The ousted Philippine Supreme Court chief justice launched a blistering attack on President Rodrigo Duterte...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest