‘Dignified silence’ for Sereno court

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. From the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

In her first day as Chief Justice (CJ) , Maria Lourdes Sereno has already envisioned a Supreme Court (SC) reviving its ‘golden days’ – when she and her fellow justices would rather decline requests for media interviews.

“I fully respect the important role of media in the public exchange of information and views. But if the SC is to return to its golden days, then the CJ must respectfully decline of these well-meaning requests for interview,” she proclaimed during the first en banc session she presided last Tuesday.

The High Court, attended by Sereno and 13 other magistrates, also allowed her request to disclose her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) for 2011 without imposing any condition.

The first lady Chief Justice stressed in a statement released after the session that the SC expresses itself at its best in “dignified silence – when the justices were heard through their writings, and when the actions of the Court were best seen in their collective resolutions.”

She cited two ‘very important concerns’ for coming up with such move.

First is how to accommodate the numerous interview requests from media personalities with ‘instinctive preference,’ while the other is “the implication of the judiciary’s constitutional role if the CJ were to give several interviews.”

“(The judiciary) is constitutionally designated to be deliberate, accurate, sober, and carefully balanced before arriving at its decisions and in their presentation,” she said.

Sereno vowed that the SC will act “with due speed in discharging its role,” and must thus exert effort to minimize susceptibility to misinterpretation” in their decisions.

Sereno, 52 and 13th in rank among the 15 justices during impeached CJ Renato Corona’s tenure, will hold her office for 18 years until her retirement at age 70, after being chosen by President Aquino last August 24 and swearing in a day after.

“By God’s sovereignty alone, the leadership mantle has been given to me, and I accept it with all humility, knowing that without the Lord God anointing my leadership, success is not possible,” she said.


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