MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday, September 14 cautioned Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno against judicial activism that could turn the Supreme Court into a "maker" of law, instead of merely interpreting it.
Speaking at a testimonial dinner for Sereno hosted by the University of the Philippines Law Alumni Association, Binay said the SC should "never lack the will or the courage" to keep tabs on the executive and legislative branches of government, especially when they overstep the boundaries laid out for them by the Constitution.
However, he cautioned that the high court should only exercise judicial activism to "extend the dimensions of justice rather than the claims of power." The end of this, he said, should be the protection of human dignity.
"What we need to guard against is that kind of judicial activism which turns the court into a maker of law, rather than a mere interpreter of the Constitution and the law," Binay said.
According to the vice president, the Philippines is still "a young democracy confronted with the need to maintain the supremacy of the law, against the demands of various interest groups, each claiming to wield so much political power."
"We have to make sure that the strength of the law prevails against the law of the strongest. This will need a strong and judicious court," he added.
Time to implement reforms
Binay also said Sereno will have "all the time and youthful energy" to implement reforms in the judiciary.
He also expressed his support for the new SC leadership, calling it "historic" and "fraught with challenges," citing the "unease" of some quarters over the recent developments in the judiciary.
"My faith in the judiciary and in the President’s capacity and determination to support its independence is much stronger than the fears of some critics that the recent impeachment and removal of your predecessor may have had a chilling effect on the courts," he said.
He is also confident that Sereno will "exert every effort to hasten the healing process" in the judiciary.
"As you embark on your long journey, rest assured we shall be standing by... We want you to succeed because we want the court to succeed, and we want our country and our people to succeed," he said.
The UP Law Alumni Association event marked the first time Binay spoke at length about the judiciary, as well as the first public event in which the newly-appointed Chief Justice and the Vice President were together.
After Sereno's appointment on August 28, Binay said he was surprised by President Aquino's choice, but appealed to the public to support her. - Rappler.com