May 11, 2018 adds to another dark moment in the history of the Filipino people. Today, in an en banc decision by the Supreme Court, in an 8-6 vote for a quo warranto petition, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted. The move is a dagger to the last remaining symbol of democracy in our country, as majority of the lawmakers in congress immediately switched allegiances after Duterte won the election. Since then the congress especially the lower house has become stamp pads and zombies of the Executive Branch.
“The decision is expected, because the accusers are themselves the judges and the President himself is the mastermind. The wily manipulation by Duterte administration was so effective. This is a mockery of our democratic process.” Fr. Edwin Gariguez, PMPI Co-Convener and Executive Secretary of National Secretariat of Social Action (NASSA) Caritas said.
Clearly, the “quo warranto” is a last ditch resort to make real the threat of the President to oust its top-most magistrate. An impeachment process is expected to be transmitted by the lower house to the upper house when it opens on May 14. But lawmakers project that the impeachment process in the Senate may find hurdles, it being an unreliable ally in their game of manipulation. A “quo warranto” is thus the surest way.
PMPI condemns the act of the six judges that did not inhibit themselves from the process provided for by their internal rules as they are clearly biased when they testified against her in Congress. “We denounce this brazen act of disrespect to the constitution by the eight justices who voted in favor of the petition. This seals control of all three branches of government by the President and his allies.” the statement further said.
“We are disgusted and appalled at this latest and brutal attack to our democratic institution. These judges sold their soul to the devil when they turned away from their promise to defend the constitution and rule of law. They will go down the dirty drain of history as the justices which ridiculed our constitution.” Yolanda Esguerra, PMPI National Coordinator added.
A little over three decades ago, many have fought a government ruled by a tyrant and many sacrificed sweat and blood to restore democracy. As tyrants do not only suppress people’s democratic rights by killing or through Martial law. They also plunder the country. They further push workers, peasants and urban informal dwellers to poverty. They drive the country to the pit of billions of debts.
And today, with the killings of the poor drug addicts, declaring Martial Law in Mindanao and pulverizing Marawi, the passing of TRAIN law that is anti-poor, borrowing of billions of money to build, build, build, the signing of a pro-business Endo Bill, and now the ouster of the Chief Justice. Clearly, a slide to tyrannical and fascist rule is more than ever real today.
Every Filipino should express dissent. Let us not allow the desecrations of our constitution and democratic institutions. The “quo warrantto” is not only about taking the side of CJ. It is about our fight for democracy, for people’s well-being, for our human rights. It is about everything that we stand for. We will be vigilant. We will pursue. We will be relentless.