Sereno to judges: Stay faithful to sworn duty, ‘uphold Constitution, rule of law’ amid ‘challenging times’
Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has asked judges to remain faithful to their sworn duty to defend the Constitution, the rule of law and judicial independence, and resist political pressures in the midst of trying times.
In a speech during the unveiling of the new three-story Regional Trial Courts Building in Valenzuela City on Monday, the nation’s chief magistrate said: “These are challenging times and it is difficult to keep on saying no to the powers that be, but this is part of the sacred trust for which we have made our vows.”
According to Sereno, the “difficult vows” that judges made when they took their oaths of office include their duty to “uphold the Constitution and the rule of law dictated never by political winds, but by our conscience and the power of our convictions.”
Apart from being incorruptible and committed to the protection of the weak as well as their rights, and the dignity of every citizen, the Chief Justice said that judges must “zealously guard our independence as jurists notwithstanding the political consequences.”
The inauguration of the P81-million building, which houses nine courts, coincides with the 394th Foundation Day Anniversary of Valenzuela City.
Sereno expressed hope the new hall of justice – where the city government and the SC invested P64 million and P17 million, respectively – would “ensure that the people who we serve will have their rights vindicated, their life, liberty and prosperity secured, and have the dignity that every citizen should expect under the rule of law.”
Also on Monday, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), along with various alternative legal groups urged lawyers to take a more active role in helping victims of human rights violations under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
CHR Commissioner Roberto Cadiz also noted Senator Leila De Lima’s imprisonment, the impeachment case against Sereno and the threats of impeachment against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales as some of the attacks against independent institutions, which are mandated to assure checks and balances in the government.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.