[EDITORIAL] #AnimatED: When the Supreme Court harms itself - and us

CJ Lourdes Sereno

Carpio is the acting Chief Justice starting today until a permanent head of the Supreme Court and the country's Judiciary is appointed by President Duterte to fill up the position left by the ousted Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno.

The justices, he said, had become "instruments for political maneuverings."Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice said it was "disheartening" that the Supreme Court majority "played politics and were now part of the political circuit.Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas described Sereno's ouster as "the most brazen rape of the judicial branch by a self-confessed tyrant in Philippine history."Larry Gadon, the lawyer who filed the controversial impeachment complaint against Sereno, meanwhile, expressed elation at the high court ruling".

"We are hopeful therefore that due process will be preserved and any motion for reconsideration given utmost respect and attention", said the JRI.

"Sereno is found disqualified from and hereby adjudged guilty of unlawfully holding and exercising the office of the chief justice", court spokesman Theodore Te told reporters.

Emerging from the Supreme Court after the decision, Sereno asked hundreds of protesting supporters to organize a movement to defend justice and accountability. She has warned that efforts by the Duterte administration to oust her are a threat to democracy, saying the petition that led to Friday's vote violates the constitution, which stipulates that top officials like her can only be removed by impeachment. "And you have to be out of the Supreme Court", Duterte said in a speech last month, in which he said he had requested lawmakers to "go into the impeachment right away".

Although she did not mention President Rodrigo Duterte by name, she alluded to many issues under his leadership, including extrajudicial killings, which have been raised by rights activists and critics. "The bench was then presumably reconstituted, I say presumably because no order was sent to me in this effect", he writes.

Duterte has sought the removal of Sereno and a top anti-graft prosecutor, Conchita Carpio-Morales, accusing them of allowing themselves to be used to discredit his administration.

The note referred to a recent incident during the case proceedings when Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Health Secretary Abid Majeed was reading out from a report on incinerators in government hospitals, which he said had been submitted on the directives of the human rights cell (HRC) of the apex court. Anti-Sereno protesters also gathered outside the building. "Let's continue to spread the message of democracy and reason".

The Supreme Court did not only wound itself in the process, it also hurt us who trusted them to stay above the fray and rescue us from this murky partisan well that threatens to gobble up this nation in silence.

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