Chief Justice now requires SC employees to attend flag-raising ceremonyBy Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno issued last Friday a memorandum reminding all employees at the Supreme Court to attend the flag-raising ceremony every Monday morning.
Court employees, who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to mediamen, revealed this to reporters.
The memo was not intended for release to the media because it was an internal memo, according to the sources.
Since her appointment as Chief Justice on Aug. 25, Sereno has led the Court’s participation in four flag ceremonies.
Senior justices have been noticeably absent in the ceremonies, leading court watchers to speculate that the “snub” was an expression of their protest over the appointment of Sereno, who was among the junior justices and who has been tapped to head the judiciary until 2030.
In her first Monday flag ceremony as chief justice on Sept. 4, only seven other justices attended. In the most recent one held on Sept. 24, only one justice — who arrived a few minutes late — was present.
The chief justice or other appointed speaker used to address the employees and visitors after the flag raising and the singing of national anthem. The justices and other top court officials and guests may also take the opportunity to socialize and eat breakfast together.
Senior Justice Antonio Carpio earlier said people should not give meaning to the absence of the justices in the flag ceremonies.
“At the end of the day, you look at the decisions of the Supreme Court, how they vote, what decisions they took,” Carpio said. He said attendance to the ceremony “depends on the predisposition of the individual justices” and “doesn’t mean anything.” He assured the public that he and the other justices have been supporting Sereno as the chief justice.
Lawyer Romulo Macalintal earlier called on the justices to attend the flag ceremony, whether they liked Sereno or not, to show respect for the law, the flag and the country.
He reminded the justices about a circular issued by the Court in 2001, which required executive judges to supervise the holding of the flag rites in their courthouses and “shall ensure the attendance of all judges and court personnel in the rites.”
Macalintal also pointed out that Section 18 of the Republic Act No. 8491 or the 1998 Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines provides that “all government offices and educational institutions shall observe the flag-raising ceremony every Monday morning.”