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Supreme Court: Wave of defiance vs court orders

/ 01:25 AM April 19, 2012

Supreme Court spokesperson and Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

BAGUIO CITY—There’s “a wave of defiance” against court orders intended to protect human rights,” Supreme Court Administrator and spokesperson Midas Marquez noted in a speech on Wednesday afternoon as he addressed a media workshop in this city, where the Supreme Court justices and the Court of Appeals are holding their their annual summer sessions.

Marquez cited  the following as “most grievous symptoms”:  Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s decision not to honor the high court’s temporary restraining order on a travel ban imposed against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo;  the government’s inability to enforce a court-issued arrest order against former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes in connection with the murder of broadcaster-environmentalist Gerardo Ortega in Puerto Princesa City, and the refusal of a Baguio mall to receive a temporary environmental protection order last week.

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The problem

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“The problem when the preconditions of independence and public confidence are not met is that the judiciary loses its capacity to uphold the rule of law,” Marquez said.

There is no bad blood between the judiciary and the media, given the efforts judges are exerting to make themselves accessible and their decisions better understood by the public, Chief Justice Renato Corona said here on Wednesday.

“I’ve always believed that you file and submit accurate and objective reports. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, sometimes, na-aangguluhan ang mga reports ninyo (your reports are presented in a particular slant or angle),” said Corona  during the media workshop.

“If a public official can’t take that, then he should not be in public service. Hindi tayo pikon. Hindi tayo nagkakapikunan (I am not onion-skinned. The media and I are not trying to provoke each other into losing our tempers),” he said.

Fair and balanced

Corona said he would not mind the bad reports “for as long as [the news is]—overall—fair and balanced.”

Marquez added that keeping the relationship between the media and the judiciary steady is necessary because the courts have started to lose the public trust due to the defiance of the judicial process displayed by the Aquino administration.

Marquez cited newspaper accounts to stress that “relentless battering” from both President Benigno Aquino III and the members of his Cabinet has “pulled down the public trust in the Supreme Court, whose rating slipped to 37 percent in March from 53 percent last November.”

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TAGS: Aquino Administration, Government, Judiciary, Politics, Supreme Court
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