Sereno self-destructs

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - April 11, 2018 - 12:00am

Not only for the enumerated reasons why she is now being subjected to impeachment proceedings, as well as by a controversial quo warranto petition, but by her own person is Maria Lourdes Sereno unfit to be chief justice of the Philippines. Without delving into the reasons for the impeachment complaint she faces, as well as for the basis of the quo warranto petition filed against her, Sereno still fails miserably in two personal qualifications a chief justice should have.

These two personal qualifications are dignity and responsibility. The chief justice, more than the president of a republic, must be possessed with dignity if she has to have the respect necessary for justice to prevail unassailed. And she must be responsible because if she is not careful, her words and actions can have a telling effect not only on her own self but, more importantly, on her office.

A president is a different animal altogether. He can come into power and then stay there as a result of so many factors, none of which may involve dignity or responsibility. Essentially a political practitioner, a president can rule from a mandate obtained by means honest or crooked, and can rule for any length by the very same token.

Being the subject of moves for her removal does not remove the requirements and expectations for Sereno to continue acting with dignity and responsibility. But has she? Instead of keeping her dignity and waiting for the process to unfold, Sereno has chosen to go on the warpath. Now, there may be nothing wrong in trying to defend herself, but Sereno is not defending herself directly.

Instead of answering the issues raised against her, since she apparently could not wait for the process to take its normal course, she embarked on a campaign of politicizing the picture. As a consequence, out the window flew all semblance of dignity she may have acquired from her stint as chief justice. She has exactly become the political animal many have long suspected her to be.

But it is not only dignity that has become a casualty here but responsibility as well. The chief justice is, as a matter of course, a lawyer. And she is a citizen as well, who is bound and subject to all the rules and laws in the land. And yet, despite being the chief justice, despite being a lawyer, despite being a citizen of the land, Sereno is busy hurling accusations against the president that are sorely and miserably lacking in proof.

Now that she is acting true to her character as nothing more than an ordinary political animal, shorn of the trappings of her high office such as dignity and responsibility, Sereno is accusing the president of being behind the moves seeking her ouster. Well, anybody can accuse anyone of anything. But one must have the proof because its burden is upon the accuser, not the accused. Sereno should have memorized that dictum by heart.

But Sereno has put forth not an iota of proof. To accuse President Duterte of orchestrating her ouster only sounds good from a political amplifier. After all, she is a misplaced political appointee of former president Noynoy Aquino, a political enemy of Duterte. But where is the proof in that? Of all people, Sereno should be most demanding about evidence. That she cannot produce for all the noise she makes, she better shut up. And wait to be deservedly ousted.

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