MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno’s first order of the day is to moderate her interaction with the media, saying the Supreme Court must return to the “dignified days of silence” when its “justices were heard, read through their writings.”
Sereno issued this statement on Tuesday, August 28, following requests from various media organizations to interview the newly-appointed chief magistrate. Sereno, the first woman chief justice of the country, was named to the position on August 24 by President Benigno Aquino III.
Sereno’s move to keep the SC away from the spotlight is the opposite of the actions of her predecessor, dismissed Chief Justice Renato Corona. Corona granted interviews to major news organizations after he was sworn in on May 17, 2010 and at the height of the impeachment trial against him during the first quarter of 2012.
UP professor Theodore Te assailed Corona for this media blitz. In an article on www.gmanews.tv at the time, Te said that Rule 2.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct states that “a judge should not seek publicity for personal vainglory,” adding that opinions given outside Court proceedings may be misconstrued by the public.
Sereno said the High Court is not a “political branch of the government” and that it should be “sober and carefully balanced” in arriving at its decisions. This, she explained, heightens the need for the Court to be shielded from “the susceptibility of misinterpretation.”
“If the Supreme Court is to return to its golden days, then the Chief Justice must respectfully decline all these well-meaning requests for interview,” she said.
Sereno added that facilitating and granting these interview requests will require time and could distract her from her work, stressing that she needs to focus on the problems of the judiciary. She said she will meet with units of the SC that are tasked to provide information to the media so they could address the media’s concerns. – Rappler.com
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