July 24, 2012 · Posted in: General
MORALE AMONG officials and employees of the Philippine judiciary plunged immediately after the impeachment and conviction of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, says one of the aspirants for the position of Chief Justice.
Lawyer Katrina Legarda told the Judicial and Bar Council during the first day of interviews of aspirants to the top post in the Supreme Court that the judges and justices she had talked to felt like “lost sheep” after the conviction of Corona.
Legarda also told the JBC that she thought that the grounds for which Corona was impeached and convicted were not really impeachable offenses.
“The morale of the courts plunged, and many of the judges I work with, and Justices in all the training that I do for the Philippine Judicial Academy were like lost sheep. What’s going to happen to us now, and how can we tell people whose cases we are hearing that this is not what the judiciary is all about,” Legarda told the JBC.
“What they brought up against Corona was not really an impeachable offense,” she added. “The courts became scared that when they displease a higher authority, they will have problems in the future with the decisions they will come out with.”
Corona was impeached and convicted last May 29 for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of the public trust for failing to disclose all his assets in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
Another aspirant for the post of Chief Justice, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, told the JBC that he does not see any problem with the executive so long as decisions made by the Supreme Court are “based on reason and well elaborated.:
“If it is known that the decision was made with integrity and reason, they can always disagree. But if we grant good faith, that’s the proper relationship between the appointing power and the appointed in the judiciary.”
Jardeleza was also questioned for his previous links with San Miguel Corporation and its former head, Eduardo Cojuangco. Jardeleza was asked if there would be any conflict of interest, if, as Chief Justice, he would have to decide on the coco levy case.
Jardeleza replied that he had only served as corporate secretary of San Miguel Corporation, and not as legal counsel of Cojuangco himself. Jardeleza said Cojuangco was represented in the coco levy case by his own set of lawyers.
Nevertheless, Jardeleza said he will inhibit himself from any cases involving any of the clients he had represented in the past, including San Miguel.