CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno told the court workers that she will do everything to observe the Constitutional process by supporting the rule of law and the Constitution as this is the only way to preserve the country.
Sereno was in Bacolod City Wednesday, April 4, for the Court Legal Researchers Association of the Philippines national convention and seminar held at L’ Fisher Hotel.
In a chance interview with the media, the chief justice, who is on leave, confirmed her attendance in the oral arguments on quo warranto case before the Supreme Court en banc on April 10 in Baguio City.
During the forum, most of the legal researchers were so attentive when she spoke before them. They even mobbed her for a "groufie” and “selfie."
Sereno told them she will face all the accusations against her with “dignity, honor and grace” knowing that at the end of the day, everything that has been contrived will be unmasked.
“Find in your hearts the spirit and a desire for good and decency to prevail in the country and then respond to the call. It takes the courage of simple men and women to make our country great. It is not in the pompous words but rather in the authentic lives of people who are willing to walk with integrity,” she said.
She vowed to continue her commitment to them to help ensure that their lives will become better, saying “my heart is with you. I have not requested you to carry a burden that I am not willing to carry myself. I have not requested any of you to make a sacrifice that I am not willing to make myself. I know that some of you have walked an extra mile. Our belief is that there is an Almighty God who sees us and he rewarded all the good that we try to bring into this world.”
She said: “it is with His commitment and His promise that we continue to discharge our function with nothing but the best for the judiciary. You are seeing me go through the process but I am going through this with utmost peace because the peace will also be with anyone who possesses the truth. We face life knowing that our hands are in the hands of the Almighty God knowing that we don’t live our lives for ourselves but for others to have a better life.”
“That is the whole point of our existence that we give meaning to life. We give up our lives for others. We have sworn an oath to uphold the dignity of the judiciary and to love your fellowmen with everything that you have. We have taken an oath to serve them in a public capacity,” she added.
Sereno also recognized the important role of the legal researchers in the judiciary. “Let the people also know our story in the judiciary. We also have parallel problems with those that have cases in court. But we still do our best to deliver genuine justice which is fair to all.”
Sereno also pointed out the need to reclassify the salary grade of the legal researchers, work on the connectivity of the courts, their medical benefits considering that court employees are always exposed to stress and pressures on their work. They also studied the possibility of giving overtime pay to legal researchers.
“Don’t feel inferior to the employees of the Supreme Court because the reforms that we are doing will make things equal for all SC and lower court employees. I spend time looking at the system, focusing on system change. We are monitoring the performance of 30,000 personnel in a professional way,” she said.
She wants to do away with administrative cases being filed against court employees.
But she congratulated the legal researchers for giving everything to their work.
“We can arrive a proper balance on how to hasten the proceedings while making sure that we are able to maintain a minimum quality of life and we do not get hospitalized,” she said.
Meanwhile, Provincial Legal Officer Jose Maria Valencia, who represented Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., said that amidst the turmoil that the courts are facing presently, he urged them to stand firm and always remember that the Lady Justice is blindfolded precisely because truth should never be compromised.
“Truth, justice, fairness, and integrity should never be forgotten, not diminished in our quest for speedy resolution of cases, by the latest infrastructures put in place that are aimed to systematize the resolution of cases, the hearings, the serving of notices as well as all the other innovative measures adopted by the Honorable Supreme Court, all of which are welcome and indeed timely,” he said.
“Nevertheless, I wish to emphasize the need to never forget that above all, justice and truth must prevail. When justice and truth are dispensed and administered in a speedy, transparent and responsive manner, when justice and truth are embodied in the decisions that are clear, well-researched, supported by law and jurisprudence, when justice and truth are embodied in the decisions that will hold true for this generation and future generations as it did for the past generations; and when justice and truth are solidly founded upon the basic law of our land, then we can truly say that justice and truth have prevailed, as they should prevail. Lady Justice can stand proud and unsullied," Valencia said.
He also urged the legal researchers to continue their quest for integrity, honesty, and competence at all times, without exemption.