GROUPS of judges throughout the country are taking sides in the conflict between Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and those who want her to resign.
It used to be those in the Senate and House of Representatives were the ones debating the issue. Judges and court workers are now getting involved in the dispute. While standing up for their beliefs is virtuous, the public statements for or against Sereno’s resignation shows a crack within the judiciary. That division tends to weaken a branch of the government.
Four judges and employees’ associations, out of the existing 15, called Monday for Sereno’s resignation. Their statements were read during the flag-raising ceremony at the Supreme Court. Signatories were Philippine Judges Association president Judge Felix Reyes, Philippine Association of Court Employees president Maria Fe Maloloy-On, Supreme Court Assembly of Lawyers Employees president Rene Enciso, and Supreme Court Employees Association president Erwin Ocson.
Sereno again rejected the call in a press conference that followed the flag-raising ceremony and said she will continue to fight for the judiciary’s independence and not submit to political pressures.
In Cebu City, court judges and employees are not joining their colleagues at the Supreme Court in their call for Sereno’s resignation.
At this point, the best way to address the conflict is for Sereno’s trial to begin, and reach a conclusion.
Let the House of Representatives decide on the complaint against Sereno for allegedly misdeclaring her wealth and violating court procedures. If the House endorses the impeachment complaint to the Senate, then Sereno will face trial there. Issues can then be threshed in the Senate trial, and Sereno and the other party could present their sides.
Sereno’s fate will be decided not on any public space but at the Senate. Prolonging the impeachment process or delaying action on the complaint against her in the House would only have others join the fray and widen the division. Let the trial begin.
It is no longer a surprise that Cebu would get the informal tag of being the “Seoul of the Philippines” with South Korean nationals visiting here.
A Twitter post of the Department of Tourism carried a Daily Tribune report saying Cebu might as well be the “Seoul of the Philippines,” referring to South Korea’s capital Seoul and the number of South Koreans coming to Cebu for relaxation and recreation. The report quoted Shalihmar Hofer Tamano, Tourism director for Central Visayas, as saying South Korean arrivals here may have reached one million in 2017 based on raw visitors’ data.
What this moniker means to Cebu is that it has a reputation to keep. Tamano said tourists cited Cebu’s diverse tourist attractions, cuisine, and peace and order situation as among the reasons they chose the province. Maintain those and you keep residents happy and the visitors coming.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on March 13, 2018.
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