May 15, 2018
Lawyers held a rally in front of the Supreme Court Tuesday to protest the May 11 decision of the majority of its magistrates to oust Ma. Lourdes Sereno as chief justice.
Dissenting with the decision, lawyers led by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said Sereno’s ouster through the quo warranto petition is unconstitutional.
In a statement, NUPL said the “erroneous” and “shortcut” petition has far reaching effects as it slays judicial independence.
“Our democracy is in peril. Monopoly of power in the Executive without checks and balance is practically complete,” the NUPL said.
The group earlier said Sereno should have been subjected to an impeachment trial in the Senate as an impeachable official, blaming the Rodrigo Duterte government for the chief magistrate’s ouster.
“Dissent even in traditional forms are shot down. Those who stand in the way of government policy and fancy are waylaid,” NUPL said.
Philippine Congress asked to reject chief justice’s ouster
15 May 2018
Decency and Dissent
In a show of solidarity and indignation, lawyers, law students and different law groups marched to the Supreme Court today to oppose the continuing attacks against judicial independence and to express dissent on what they call as an evident and brazen pattern of an impending authoritarianism.
“The legal community has spoken : we express our strongest opposition against the ouster of the Chief Justice through a Quo Warranto proceeding not only because it is legally erroneous and unconstitutional, but more importantly, because it practically decapitated the judiciary and sent a chilling effect. Obviously, the decision has laid the predicate for authoritarianism as it completes concentration of power in the Executive. Attacks against judicial independence and the rule of justice place our democracy in peril,” National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) Secretary-General Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez, said in a statement.
The NUPL encouraged all members of the legal profession, law students, and court workers to stand up and rise against this de facto dictatorship.
“We are calling on members of the legal profession, law students, and court workers to make our voices heard even outside the courtroom and seek constitutional redemption from those that undermine our supposed democratic institutions,” Atty. Cortez added. ###
Edre U. Olalia
Ephraim B. Cortez
NUPL Secretary General
(National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Facebook)