BLIND SPOT: A Slightly Better Banana Republic


Hey, what’s the noise about? I’m in the middle of enjoying my summer vacation, with miting de avance and inter-zone basketball championship cheers in the background. What’s all the rumble about up there? Can’t a Filipino get a little peace between the school break, a few weeks before the Brigada Eskwela? Come on; spare us the ruckus. “Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the high court ruling subverted the constitutional process of impeachment and submitted to the whims of President Rodrigo Duterte, who had publicly declared himself Sereno’s “ enemy.” “This is a black day for justice and the rule of law. The Supreme Court has fallen, and fallen hard in the eyes of the public,” she said in a statement which echoes in the halls of the Senate with the other senators.” (news.abs-cbn.com) Oh, this is all about the Supreme Court ousting its head, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno from position. Hasn’t she been in congressional hearings for impeachment which should proceed to the Senate which should convene as an impeachment court just like what happened to former Chief Justice Renato Corona and former President Joseph Estrada? “The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a petition for quo warranto (through which the Supreme Court ousted its Chief Justice) dated March 2, 2018, questioning Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno’s qualifications for the top judicial post. “This is a petition for quo warranto under Section 5(1), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution and Rule 66 of the Rules of Court seeking the ouster of Respondent as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines. “The suit is being filed with this Honorable Court as an exception to the application of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts because the issues raised are of transcendental importance.” (newsinfo.inquirer.net) Okay, okay, I’m starting to have a headache with the legal jargon. Can you say that again? Oh no, never mind. I think I won’t get it anyway even if you repeat it. So, all along this time while the House of Representatives has been pushing for the impeachment, the Office of the Solicitor General has filed a petition questioning the qualifications of the Chief Justice. (Talk about attacks from two fronts, from the front and from the rear.) The petition contends that the Supreme Court head does not have any right to be in the position in the first place; because she did not actually qualify to begin with. Wow, I knew they were desperate to take her out; but I did not anticipate that they were preparing for an ambush. “Sereno, the first woman to hold the top post in the judiciary, had contested the validity of a “quo warranto” petition that led to her ouster, saying she could only be removed through ongoing impeachment proceedings. ”The high court en banc voted 8-6 on Friday to grant the petition by Solicitor General Jose Calida and 9-5 in favor of the argument that it was the proper remedy. Calida had cited Sereno’s failure to fully disclose her wealth when she applied for the Supreme Court’s top post in 2012. In another vote on Friday, 9 justices said quo warranto was the proper remedy to remove Sereno while 5 said it was not.” (news.abs-cbn.com) The regular patron of the neighborhood kinalasan watching the news could immediately yell “Unfair!”. But then, listening to the other side, he could mumble a faint, ‘Really? Could they do that?”. I’ll sip soup and swallow some noodles with beef pieces and think to myself, I don’t know; maybe that’s legal. The Filipino public is under the impression that the President, Vice President and Supreme Court Chief Justice would be impeached because of some violation against the Filipino people; and not for failure of submission of some documents. This whole drama has been like a common employee being questioned towards termination for failure to submit his barangay clearance. Anyway, what’s new?? The Aquino administration did the same to former Chief Justice Corona. The Arroyo administration did a somewhat similar thing to former President Estrada, although that was different in many respects. But behind these all, this isn’t about culpable violation of the constitution, is it? It’s all part of a big movement which included Sen. Leila De Lima being put in prison and Comelec Commissioner Bautista being forced into resignation; a movement that has sought the administration rid of Noynoy Aquino appointees and/or those in any way related to the Liberal Party. It’s a big conspiracy of persecution. That’s what it is. So we can all wreck our brains with legal and constitutional analyses; but we’ll just end up confused because we won’t be taking this inquisition for what it really is. This nation is just a little bit better than a banana republic with the current regime sweeping the former administration’s officials with executions and incarceration. Sadly, the previous administrations did their little discreet versions of this movement; which means we’re headed towards the worse. “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23