MANILA, Philippines – The judiciary needs to have “very good relations” with the executive regardless of the administration in power, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said on Thursday, August 25.
During her annual meeting with the press, Sereno said that even if the judiciary was able to implement its reform programs, it will still need the help of agencies attached to the executive branch to make sure that presented evidence, for example, is not weak.
“If the evidence is weak, if the investigation is not professionalized, then our people might still have a reason to be concerned about the delivery of justice,” she said.
“We will need to have a continuing healthy relationship with the executive department,” Sereno declared.
Judicial reforms, she added, are “here to stay” and people should be taught to “demand higher accountability and performance” from government.
Earlier, Sereno got entangled with the President when she expressed concern over his drug list that included judges.
In her letter, the Chief Justice expressed concern that judges might become targets of vigilante groups, because of the President’s “premature public announcement.”
“Our judges may have been rendered vulnerable and veritable targets for any of those persons and groups who may consider judges as acceptable collateral damage in the ‘war on drugs,'” Sereno said.
That triggered an angry reaction from Duterte who resented what he perceived to be being ordered around by the Supreme Court. He asked her if she wanted him to declare martial law instead to purge the country of drugs. Later on, he apologized for his “harsh words” and said they were never intended.
Asked about a possible constitutional crisis, Sereno replied, “I am not God. My role is to ensure that judiciary’s duty is properly discharged.”
She added that the judiciary is “all too aware” of reactions of people and that they can “sometimes take offense.” One side will always be angry with the judge, she explained, adding, “we are used to people not being happy with our decisions…The strength of the judiciary is to continue doing what is right.” – Rappler.com
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