By Leandro DD Coronel
If Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno were a punching bag, she would already be all torn up. If all the hits against her had been actual body blows, she would be black and blue all over.
What they’re doing to Sereno is beyond fair play. After months of public pillorying, her attackers haven’t proven that they have solid grounds to impeach her.
The Philippine Constitution lists the following as grounds for impeachment: Culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, and other high crimes or betrayal of public trust.
So far, from this layman’s point of view, none of the charges leveled against Sereno is solid enough to merit a Senate trial. The charges are at best internal organizational issues that could have been settled by and among the members of the high court themselves.
The associate justices who went to the House hearings to make sumbong complained about Sereno’s management style, inattention to the justices’ complaints about internal procedures, unresponsiveness to gripes and concerns expressed by the justices, and other accusations including the purchase of an expensive vehicle for the chief justice’ use.
The House committee leadership bent way over backwards to accommodate practically everybody who had something negative to say about Sereno. What they’ve done to Sereno proves in this case that “throwing everything including the kitchen sink” is not hyperbole.
The way I see it, the House hearings have gone for as long as they have because those who want Sereno dismissed from her job haven’t presented any solid case for dismissal from office by a Senate trial court. So far, it’s been a catch-less fishing expedition.
They did the same thing with Sen. Leila de Lima. They got a bunch of convicted felons at the Bilibid prison to sing and implicate De Lima in their crimes. How long they’ll keep her in jail is anybody’s guess.
To my mind, what they’re doing will ultimately boomerang on them. People here and abroad have been pointing out that the extrajudicial killings (EJKs) and harassment of political enemies will eventually convince international bodies, like the International Criminal Court, that the country’s judicial system is broken and is not functioning as it should be.
What they’re doing to perceived enemies, like unfriendly news organizations such as Rappler, is giving them bad PR and will ultimately help bring them down.
I find none of such actions on their part to be helpful to them. They’re alienating people left and right, making enemies here and abroad, and it’s all so unnecessary. Instead of uniting the people, they’re intentionally dividing them, creating a torn nation.
But for what? Instead of building unity, harnessing collective cooperation, and creating harmony, they’re succeeding only in fomenting hatred among the people.
What they’re doing to Sereno and De Lima is not doing the country any good. What they’re doing to Ombuds(wo)man Conchita Carpio Morales and Vice President Leni Robredo, demonizing them and destroying their reputations, only serves to further alienate certain sectors of society. Again, for what?
One thing is apparent. When they want to destroy someone they don’t like, or someone who’s in their way, they won’t stop at anything to accomplish their mission. By hook or by crook, they’ll go about their business with impunity until they’ve achieved their goal.
What the people currently in power are doing is perpetuating a vicious cycle of vendetta among our politicians. What happens when power has slipped out of their hands and they go back to being ordinary mortals again? So far, what they’ve proven is that we’re a mean people.
Tantrum Ergo. Is it just me or have others noticed that the pronunciations and spellings of the terms “Kung hei fat choy” and “Penagbenga” change every year?