Mandaue court workers duped into joining Red Monday
CEBU CITY – Employees of the Mandaue City Hall of Justice wore red shirts on Monday supposedly to call for unity in the Supreme Court (SC) just as what the text message they received read.
But they found out they were misguided.
The court employees were surprised to learn that the “Red Monday” was actually aimed at expressing support for the ouster of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.
“We were surprised with what we saw. We didn’t know wearing red was meant to call for the ouster of the chief justice. We were deceived,” said one employee, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, in reference to the activity held at the Supreme Court where officials and employees wore red shirts to seek the removal of Sereno from the judiciary.
One employee showed the text message they received. It read: “Let’s all wear RED tomorrow, Monday and attend the flag raising ceremony as a sign of unity in the Supreme Court. Pls pass. #onesupremecourt #parasajudiciary #parasahudikatura.” In Cebu City, court employees opted to wear their regular uniforms on Monday. A private message sent through Facebook to members of the Philippine Association of Court Employees (PACE) read: “We should all wear our uniforms today. We’re public servants, not puppets. We all love our institution and what it stands for. Stop this divisiveness. We only got one country and we love its people, our countrymen.” Asked why she wasn’t wearing a red shirt on Monday, one court employee in Cebu City said “Dili nako feel. (I don’t feel the need to do so).”
Another court employee said the Cebu City trial courts were not taking sides with regard to calls to oust Sereno.
“Cebu City is neutral. We just have to continue working,” a female court clerk told the Inquirer. Executive Judge Gilbert Moises of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Cebu City was not available for comment since he is still out of the country. Judge Ramon Daomilas Jr., the second vice executive judge, personally believed Sereno must be given the chance to answer the allegations hurled against her.
“Everyone, including the chief justice, is entitled to a day in court. (Since there’s an impeachment complaint filed against her), let the process proceed,” he told the Inquirer.
Daomilas, however, appealed to the executive and legislative branches of government to respect the independence of the judiciary.
“The independence of the judiciary should be respected by both the executive and legislative in the same way that the judiciary respects the two other branches of government,” he said.
“The judiciary is not a political institution. We should be spared from it,” he added.
As the controversies hounding Sereno continued to be threshed out, Daomilas said judges and court employees just have to perform their mandate so as not to derail the dispensation of justice.
“We will continue to perform our functions. We are for the independence of the judiciary. We support the Supreme Court as a whole,” he said.