Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
One of the first edicts handed down by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno following her oath-taking was to “seek to return the Supreme Court to its days of dignified silence, when its justices were heard when read through their writings, and when the actions of the court were best seen in their collective resolutions.”
This desire to minimize contact with the media marks a turn-around from the manner that the Corona Court dealt with the issue, where the Supreme Court maintained a more public image through spokesperson Midas Marquez who routinely held press conferences on a synthesis of court decisions before actual decisions were officially released to the public. While Renato Corona went on a media blitz to woo the public and justify the unpopularity of his ascension to being Chief Justice due to a controversial midnight appointment, Sereno’s first statement to the media told them that she must respectfully decline well meaning requests for interviews.
One of the first things the new Chief Justice also approved was the release of her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth that had been inaccessible from the public due to a confidentiality rule, a technicality that her predecessor chose to hide behind. We hope that she goes a step further and reverses that outdated and unreasonable SALN confidentiality rule for SC justices in the spirit of transparency and accountability.
The 18-year term of CJ Sereno gives her an unprecedented opportunity to embark on and follow through reforms that will, hopefully, give the Filipinos a judiciary that they deserve. Her decisions to return the high court to the days of dignified silence while at the same time promoting transparency by releasing her SALN bodes well because it sets the tone that the Supreme Court under her leadership will follow.
It seems that the Sereno Court is setting out on the right foot by promising to quietly fulfill its duties while being as transparent as possible without attracting undue attention. As she gathers steam, we also hope that this Supreme Court can finally end the flip-flopping era that has greatly tarnished its image. After that, she can focus on the hard part. Eighteen years is a long time, and we are confident that given so much time, CJ Sereno will surely be able to stamp her mark on the SC. We just hope that it doesn’t take that long for the judiciary under her to shape up.*