Chief Justice to ‘dissolve’ public information office-A A +A
Sunday, September 9, 2012
MANILA - Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is bent on shutting down the Supreme Court Public Information Office (PIO), a document obtained by reporters showed.
In an order dated August 25, Sereno said the 30 personnel at the PIO, led by its acting chief Gleoresty Guerra, will be terminated effective October 31, 2012, without prejudice to re-appointment.
The order was issued right after Sereno was sworn in by President Benigno Aquino III following her appointment as Chief Justice on August 24.
All the personnel at the PIO, including former Supreme Court spokesman and Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, are actually co-terminus with then Chief Justice Renato Corona, but their services were extended.
Guerra replaced Marquez during the brief tenure of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio when he sat as acting chief justice following Corona’s ouster by the Senate impeachment court.
Marquez, however, retained his post as court administrator, it being a regular position.
Earlier, Sereno said she wanted to bring back the court to its “golden days” of dignified silence – “when justices were heard and read through their writings and when the actions of the court were best seen in their collective resolutions,” and not through the media.
Sereno also earlier said that she will engage the services of various “communicators” who will deal with the media in various capacities.
One such communicator was deputy court administrator Raul Villanueva, who was designated to speak for judicial reforms.
But Guerra, in a phone interview, denied there was an order to dissolve the PIO.
She said the office was created through an en banc resolution, thus it would take another en banc resolution to close it down.
“The PIO is under the Office of the Chief Justice, therefore, the Chief Justice should have a free hand, or the full discretion to choose who she will place in that office,” she said.
The Supreme Court-PIO first came into being in 1998 during the term of Chief Justice Hilario Davide, who had envisioned of bringing the High Court closer to the people, and even described it as the coming down of the so-called gods from Mt. Olympus and the opening of the fortress that is the Court, owing to the “secrecy” of its deliberations.
Aside from the PIO, Sereno also terminated starting October 31 the tenure of Alexander Arevalo, assigned at the Office of the Chief Justice who heads the Management Information Systems Office (Miso), the computer technology arm of the Supreme Court tasked with providing technical expertise on the formulation of system design studies and application system development, as well as support services on hardware maintenance to help the court establish a state-of-the-art information technology in its computerization efforts.
Miso also currently manages various websites within the judiciary.gov.ph domain.
Sereno, however, recommended for appointment certain persons to positions in the Office of the Chief Justice and/or the Presidential Electoral tribunal, and in the Rollo Room, effective immediately.
They were Edwin Mendoza, as executive assistant II; Jocelyn Atienza, court stenographer IV; Myrna Manzanilla, court stenographer I; Ma. Theresa Maniquis, court stenographer I; Jasmin Soner, judicial staff employee II (casual), PET, effective until December 31, 2012; and Rolando Gabriel, judicial staff employee II (casual), PET, also until end of December. (JCV/Sunnex)