MANILA, Philippines—Chief Justice Renato Corona on Thursday called on women judges of the Philippines to continue the fight of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Cecilia Munoz-Palma against “one man rule.”
Palma was the first Supreme Court justice who opposed martial law under the dictatorial rule of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, who appointed her to the high court.
“Recent events have led us to a seemingly ‘one-man rule,’” Corona said in his speech Thursday at the Philippine Women Judges Association at the Manila Hotel. The event was attended by some 300 women judges nationwide.
He called the women judges the new breed of “Cecilia Munoz Palmas” who would continue the fight against the alleged dictatorship.
“Sadly, the basic foundations and pillars of modern Philippine democratic society are being undermined by transient power holders of the government who are solely mandated and obliged to preserve and implement them,” Corona said.
“We are fighting for Judicial independence to shield the Judiciary from improper influence and pressure in our review of any grave abuse of discretion committed by any unit or agency of the Philippine government as well as in settling disputes between and among private and public invested groups,” Corona said.
Corona added the Judiciary should remain free from politics.
“The Executive and Legislative Departments are constitutionally mandated within certain reasonable authorities and privileges guaranteeing their balance of power,” he said.
“The judiciary must be insulated from political pressures, popularity surveys, lobbyists, private partisan interests, undue influence and outright coercion from the Executive or Legislative Departments or from major private stakeholders who are advancing their own shared mutual socio-political and economic interests,” Corona said.
Corona thanked the PWJA members for their support.
“Thank you for standing by the side of the Court. Thank you for upholding the Rule of Law. Thank you for keeping up the fight. Thank you for keeping up the faith. We shall remain firm and we shall remain steadfast. May the Almighty God guide us fortitude as we continue our quest for truth and justice and the preservation of the institution we all love,” Corona said.