Independence of the Courts and Other Misunderstandings

I refrain from critiquing the impeachment hearing and testimony of Chief Justice Corona as I tend to have compassion for the emotionally challenged.
But I’d like to comment on the complaint of court employees that the impeachment of the Chief Justice infringes on the independence of the judiciary.
I’m not convinced court employees even understand what independence means.
Independence does NOT mean left alone to wield justice in some cocoon that seals the courts off from any engagement with the Legislative and Executive branches. All branches of government must interact in order to understand one another, and to provide the checks and balances that keep government from slipping into autocracy or incompetence.
So when the Supreme Court acts on the constitutionality of a law passed by the Legislature, it is not infringing on the independence of the Legislature. It is doing its job. Or if it cites an executive order as unconstitutional, it is not infringing on the independence of the Executive branch. It is doing its job.
The impeachment process is a legal foundation of Philippine democracy. The Legislature is charged with the “job” of assuring impeachable officials are not on a wayward path.  It is astounding to me that workers in the branch of government that protects and serves this democracy somehow see it as an infringement upon their independence. Indeed, in this case, impeachment is aimed at ASSURING independence of the courts.
And the Ombudsman has a job to do, too, and if anyone were to respect this job, it would be an impartial judge.
How is it, then, that court employees feel such a threat?
Well, for one thing, their “leader” has painted the picture that way. One of grand victim.
One clear conclusion that can be drawn from the Chief Justice’s opening statement is that he has failed to disassociate himself emotionally and politically from the other branches of government. His hyper-sensitivity to criticism and process has placed him on the defensive, and on the attack, blaming his troubles on the President and the 188 members of the House who impeached him. And on the Ombudsman who was, after all, simply doing her job with the best information available. The Chief Justice having secured all other avenues of access to his financial records.
So here we have a Chief Justice who does not grant other parts of government the right to abide by their oaths of public service. To do their jobs. He sees threats everywhere. He establishes the hyper-sensitive pipelines to other branches of government that erode the essential judicial mandate of separation and impartiality. The scary thing is that the entire roster of court employees seems have to taken up the flag of sensitivity and is waving it in public demonstrations. THEY, too, are undermining judicial independence because they have no idea what impartiality means. THEY, too, are emotional.
It takes discipline to hold to a steady course in a storm. To think proper thoughts rather than bow to emotions. It takes maturity and perspective. The maturity of the wise. The perspective of the aloof, the observer, the man who stands alone on the mountain top and sees all that is happening below, without climbing down and mucking around in what is happening below.
Senator Enrile has it.
The Chief Justice has come down from the mountain and the price is lost independence of and respect for the judiciary. Lost is impartiality. And lost is the TRUST we must have that the judicial mind is an extraordinary mind, an objective mind, that can reflect on all facts and render clear judgment.
No.
Impeachment is not an infringement on independence of the courts.
It ASSURES independence by making sure the Chief Justice is influenced by no forces other than law, fact and reason.
His personal sensitivity is wrong for the top judicial official in the land. His need to blame and make excuses and whine undermines the impartial integrity of the courts. The bedrock of its independence.
Comments
7 Responses to “Independence of the Courts and Other Misunderstandings”
  1. Anonymous says:

    From: island jim-e!1. What to expect from a country/congress/government that spends most of the constructive time (held uin in traffic grid lock they support/endorse) at the "soaps"…!I understand that one of the most famous of the island "soaps" is "whacky-whacky" (or somethin to that effect)! This is what you get when you mix 50& x-tv-film-movie-radio-has-beenstars with about 25% over-rated/underprodutive"fat cats", and maybe 20% sweat-stained under-wear "jocks" (over-stimulated by dope and other stuff!).2. So we have the "popcorn" and "peanut" gallery (188 plus) high on smokin too much"MANILA CM", cd, and other green stuff…andforgetting to spend any constructive time with taking care of addressing (with prejudice andsuccess) the several island-"crisis"!3. Gone of the daze of "South Pacific", nomore "singing a happy tune"! No more "island music"….just "thar be blood!" (title to movie)!4. Oh….and the island government is sooooupset that it does not get fully armed- "gun boats" from "big brother–usah! Please give me a break! Instead of spending30-60-90 daze roasting a "judge" 100% of the time to distract the people from needed emergency attention (we be bleeding out of every orfice at the emergency room)…the "pretenders"…(not to be confused with a famous usa-singing group that generated money from hardwork!)…just violtating the public trust andhealth needs!Oh well, I hope they all choke to death on"Manila sunshine" so the islands can regainsome good "boy scouts" and "girl scouts" toput in power for our salvation!Song titles: "Your Cheatin Heart-Williams",Cryin-in-th-Chapel-Orioles, Hound Dog-Willie mae/Elvis…!Relief…spelled "plop-plop-fiz-fiz…!"Flush the "old farts", evil-dooers, zombies, and sleepwalkers a-way!From My Rockin Chair….! The Cricket

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just wonder how the GRP people are going to defend Corona this time…I'm willing to bet an entire month's paycheck that they will insist that Sen. Drilon and the 188+ congressmen will take on Corona's challenge and sign the waiver.

  3. Well, jimmy of the isles, you are fragrant of word again.Point 1, gridlock. It is a case of ambition meeting complacency and complacency winning. Or all the favor trading dominating productivity.Point 2, the 188 are merely swinging the hammer of Mr. Aquino aimed at smashing the culture of corruption, and I can figure no better way than beating the snot out of some top line squirrely people. It makes a statement.Point 3, pessimism is not allowed on these happy tropical isles.Point 4, well, you buy at rock bottom, you get chipped merchandise.Summation, we disagree in a wholly peaceful way. I think the impeachment trial shows the maturity of Philippine democracy. No one is murdering another, the coup master Enrile is displaying outrageous competence at presiding over trial rather than orchestrating overthrow, and an embarrassing representative of justice is about to be pitched under the bus.However, I do agree legislators should be getting some work done. Like HR and divorce and other good scouting deeds.

  4. The irrational do not behave rationally, for sure. Or the devious hypocritical agenda pushers.. .

  5. Anonymous says:

    The court employees support for Corona is a response to the threat of their way of life that have been unchecked for quite some time. Like the Customs, DPWH, BIR and other milking cows of unscrupulous politicians, the judicial branch's corrupt practices are deeply rooted and extreme resistance is something expected. The problem with the judiciary is that it has remained unchallenged for the longest time until of course this impeachment, with their Chief Justice at the receiving end at that. They will defend this way of life like they would their own home. This episode in our history will however erode the first mantle of that branch of government's "bestowed" infallibility and will eventually have enlightened a few from inside their ranks who will instigate the seeds of positive changes from within.Wits

  6. Interesting take. I had not thought of it in those terms, but it makes a great deal of sense. That's why the court employees can have such an unsavory hero. It's like defending one's father even if he is a liar and a thief. It is the necessary pain that will be encountered for change to happen. I like the optimism of your conclusion and hope that comes to pass.

  7. Anonymous says:

    One commenter by the name "dikonamasikmura" put it succinctly:How do you end up with a hundred?YOU START WITH ONE.Wits

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