ACTING Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio has doused cold water on the critics of the high court’s 8-6 decision ousting Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice.
The verdict has sparked a controversial discussion of its merits. Among other arguments, critics continue to insist the decision is unconstitutional as, according to them, the Chief Justice can only be removed from her post by impeachment.
There were even calls for the impeachment of the justices who voted in favor of ousting Sereno. Accusations flew thick that the SC ruling was thickly laced with politics.
In the Senate, a resolution was proposed essentially expressing the sense of the lawmakers for the SC to reconsider its decision.
But Carpio, who was among the six dissenters, said these criticism should stop.
Parenthetically, while Carpio did not agree with the majority decision that Sereno could be ousted via quo warranto he categorically said that the former Chief Justice is liable for violation of the SALN law.
“The Supreme Court decides. We must just follow,” was the succinct reminder from Carpio.
That should remind us of the quip about a certain general who had a large poster placed in his office that read: Rule No. 1-The General is always right. Rule No. 2-If the General is wrong, Rule No. 1 applies”.
Put in a more lofty manner, as the final interpreter of the law and the constitution, the high court’s decision must be respected by everyone.
That’s not muzzling any criticism of the high court’s verdict. In fact, those who disagree with it can avail of the appropriate recourse. They can file a case to challenge the decision—if they have the legal personality to do so, or assist the eligible party in filing such case to articulate their position.
Ironically, by perpetuating the accusation that politics has invaded the inner sanctum of the high court these critics themselves are contributing to such impression, and thereby undermining the stability of the Supreme Court as an institution.
Now the critics of the SC must take heed of Carpio’s concise but wise counsel. It’s practically a cease and desist order. While Carpio’s reminder was put subtly, it should remind us of one of the most colourful lawmaker in the recent past, Didagen Dilangalen and his infamous outburst: “Shut up!”