Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has blamed the media for “leakages” coming from the Supreme Court en banc’s deliberations that she said would confuse the public.
In her speech before the Kapisanan ng mga Brodcaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) 40th Top Level Management Conference on Monday, she said the media breaches the confidentiality of the rule-making powers of the High Court for breaking the information to the public ahead of the decisions.
“You must understand, however, that until our decisions are promulgated, nothing may be said about them in public. That is the reason why our deliberations and even our agenda are strictly confidential. I am aware of the propensity of some reporters to capitalize on ‘leaks’ and ‘insider’ access to write about deliberations before cases are decided and promulgated. Let me assure you that these do not help because, instead of clarifying they confuse,” Sereno noted.
The Manila Times had been able to publish still unreleased SC decisions on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), for example, as well as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
It learned that during the internal deliberations of the SC justices, Sereno was found to have unilaterally ordered a lifestyle check on justices and judges, tapping the National Bureau of Investigation for the job.
SC Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro had accused the Chief Justice as bulaan (congenital liar) during en banc deliberations after Sereno was discovered to have issued a fake and fraudulent resolution on her own on the creation of the Regional Court Administration Office in Cebu or RCAO Region 7.
She even criticized the media for focusing on the “heat” instead of the “light” of the news.
“The growth of citizen journalism has created an entirely new paradigm and model of reporting. Where pen and paper and airtime used to be the line which separated the professional journalist from the interested observer, the internet and social media and the rise of smart phones have now rendered that line practically irrelevant. Now, anyone with a twitter account can be a legal luminary in his or her own mind. Many reporters get their ‘tips’ on ‘breaking news’ from social media. Much of the stories that focus on ‘heat’ rather than ‘light’ come from the comments on Facebook status pages from account holders who may have proper names or simply avatars,” Sereno added.