Leonen: ‘Corruption weakens judicial independence’
“Corruption weakens judicial independence far more than political interference.”
This was the message of Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Marvic Leonen on Thursday at a forum organized by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Makati chapter.
These are trying times for the high court as it grapples with issues such as the looming ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and people questioning its judicial independence and integrity.
“In my view, judicial independence does not really make sense if it does not provide a voice for the impoverished, oppressed, and marginalized,” he said in his speech.
Leonen, the youngest among current SC justices, said the core of judicial independence is the capacity to provide avenues for the oppressed and the marginalized.
The 55-year-old justice, however, emphasized that it is corruption that causes poverty, social inequality, greed, and conspiracy. It also “amplifies the power of the already rich and powerful.”
“I know it takes courage to do what is unpopular and dangerous… It is not easy to register one’s dissent against the majority,” he noted.
But Leonen said our silence allow the abuse of the system to favor those who have the means, can legitimize greed, and can cause injustice.
With this, he urged lawyers and law students to have the courage to do what is right.
“These times call on all of us to do our part, look at things differently, go outside what is comfortable, do what is just,” he said.
“The line of fire has always been the line of honor,” he added. /ee
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