After the pronouncement of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte on temporary restraining orders (TRO) for sale in the judiciary, the Supreme Court (SC) will continue to cleanse its ranks.
This was the assurance made by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno during the 115th anniversary of the tribunal on Friday.
While the Chief Justice acknowledged the corruption problem in the judiciary, it “has been relenting” in cracking its whip on erring judges, court employees and lawyers.
“Whether there is a TRO or not, corruption is a problem in the government… [but]I can assure the public that we will not stop cleansing our ranks,” Sereno told justice reporters.
Just recently, the SC took immediate action to preventively suspend Malabon Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Zaldy Docena for six months for indiscriminate issuance of search warrants.
Sereno said the SC is attentive in attending to administrative cases to penalize judges, court personnel and lawyers involved in illegal practices.
“We’ve been faithful to our mission in that sense, so we welcome that he [Duterte] highlights corruption. But I can also assure the public that even if our President is quiet about corruption, the judiciary will still do its best to rid its ranks of corruption,” she added.
The chief magistrate said her office is always open to discussions with Duterte’s team.
“We are ready to give an introduction or briefing of what we are doing. In fact, my office is always open to any of his trusted people to raise concerns with us, and we will already tell them what we are doing in the front of corruption and what we are doing with respect to some concerns of judicial processes,” Sereno added.
She called on to the public to submit evidence of corruption in the judiciary.
“I want evidence of corruption, because that is something we really need to make example of. So, I hope the public is responsive because we will have a responsive Supreme Court. If we get enough basis, we will move,” according to the Chief Justice.
On restoring the death penalty, Sereno said it is still up to Congress.
“I think our leader is realistic enough to know that the legislative process must be undertaken before he can even implement death penalty by hanging. So, let’s see.
Congress is soon to open, and the political will and the logic of such a move, those will be evident in the months to come,” she added.