We, the 230 delegates of Palawan 5, representing over 100 Christian organizations, denominations, churches and ministerial fellowships in the Philippines do hereby declare our support for Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
In her half-decade at the helm of the Philippine Judiciary, Chief Justice Sereno has served with integrity, independence, and impartiality, conducting herself in a manner that befits her office and consistent with the canons of the Bar and the Bench.
Under her stewardship, the Supreme Court has spearheaded much-needed reforms in the Judiciary to ensure transparency and accountability in the High Court and to uphold the independence of the nation’s last bulwark of democracy.
The Book of Proverbs in the Sacred Scriptures teaches us, however, that “one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked” (Proverbs 29:27). At the first hearing of the House Committee on Justice we witnessed this, as its members brazenly denied Chief Justice Sereno her most basic rights, while her accuser was accorded every concession imaginable to present a poorly conceived case built on hearsay and misrepresentations of fact and law.
We believe that the persistent efforts of a powerful few to impeach the Chief Justice on charges that are clearly baseless and malicious are a brazen move to silence a jurist who has consistently handed down decisions that are pro-people and pro-Constitution.
Thus, the present impeachment proceedings are a mockery of the Rule of Law. These are not only an attack on the Chief Justice, they are an assault on the independence of the Judiciary and the institutions necessary to preserve democracy. Should political forces succeed in removing the Chief Justice by the simple expedient of violating her basic rights, they would have damaged the country irreparably y severely weakening one of the institutions we can rely on to check abuse in government and to uphold individual rights under the Constitution.
A rigged process is ultimately a mockery of the Constitution— and sets democracy for a fall. Our own painful history has shown that a government allowed to run roughshod over the rights of one can only be emboldened to trample on the rights of all. Our own experience of authoritarian rule in the not-so-distant past illustrates the danger we all face if but one person is denied his or her basic rights.
If this administration does not recognize the basic rights of the Chief Justice of the Philippines, how do we expect it to respect the basic rights of any Filipino?
this patent injustice. We call on our fellow citizens to stand with Chief Justice Sereno in the face of this partisan attack on judicial independence. We ask our people to echo her call to come to the defense of the Rule of Law.
The time to make a stand for truth, justice and righteousness is NOW. The time to fight for what is right is NOW.
“… and if you swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.” – Jeremiah 4:2