Brewing coup in Sandiganbayan? ‘Employees’ oppose Tang's SC application
MANILA, Philippines – Is there a brewing coup in the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan?
Nameless individuals who claim they are “concerned employees” of the Sandiganbayan sent an opposition to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to block the application of Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang for a justice post at the Supreme Court.
The complaint called Tang “mala-diktador” or dictatorial and claimed she “runs the affairs of the anti-graft court like her idol Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.”
Sereno was ousted in a quo warranto petition spurred by discontent in the Supreme Court, as employees and justices alike protested her unilateral decisions.
It turned out that a formal complaint was filed against Tang in March 2018, but it was dismissed last July by the Supreme Court en banc. The content of the complaint is similar to the issues raised in the opposition.
“Your honors, I doubt whether this letter really came from the employees of the Sandiganbayan, because no less than the Sandiganbayan Employees Association (SEA) came up with the disclaimer which I attached to my comment repudiating and disowning this letter,” Tang told the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Wednesday, December 5, during her public interview for Supreme Court Justice.
Tang added: “Maybe there are some or one disgruntled person in the court. But as they say you cannot please everyone.”
According to the letter of the “concerned employees,” Tang threw a retirement party for retired clerk of court Renato Bocar “without the authority of the en banc.” The employees said it was the first time that it had happened in the Sandiganbayan.
“It was not a unilateral act of mine, it was actually the decision of the...there’s a committee in the office, since it was the executive clerk of court IV who was retiring, the committee which I chaired decided to tender a retirement party for him,” Tang told the JBC.
Tang was appointed to the Sandiganbayan in 2012 by former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. In 2013, Aquino appointed her Presiding Justice despite being the most junior justice. It was the same thing that happened to Sereno, which caused cracks in relationships in the High Court.
The letter also accused Tang of having the Sandiganbayan building repainted and ordering an investigation into the hiring of “blue guards” supposedly without authority of the en banc.
“Nais po naming iparating sa inyo ang pagiging abusado sa kanyang kapangyarihan ni PJ Cabotaje-Tang (We wanted to let you know about the abuses of PJ Cabotaje-Tang),” the letter said.
It added: “Masyado niya pong dinadama at ipinaparamdam sa mga empleyado ng Sandiganbayan at maging sa kanyang mga kapwa justices ang kanyang kapangyarihan na pagkaminsan ay wala na sa lugar.”
(She makes the employees and other justices feel that she’s powerful which is sometimes out of place.)
On July 17, the Supreme Court en banc dismissed the letter-complaint for being “devoid of merit."
Tang shrugged off the issue, telling the JBC that the Supreme Court itself has dismissed the case.
“I am a very hardworking person, your honor. I go to the office early, I work very late, and I see to it that no document sent to my chamber, no one piece of paper is left unacted [upon] when I leave office at the end of the day,” Tang said.
JBC member retired judge Toribio Ilao asked Tang “what gave” her the “courage” to apply for the Supreme Court, given that she is a junior justice compared to other applicants from the Court of Appeals.
Tang has been working for the government for 38 years, most of which were spent in the Office of the Solicitor General.
“Although I may not have the judicial experience compared to the others, I do have the legal experience and coupled with the 6 years I have in the judiciary, I believe that this has more than adequately equipped me for the justice position of the Supreme Court,” Tang said. – Rappler.com