Infighting looms at High Court

January 5, 2014 9:59 pm

BIG trouble could be brewing at the Supreme Court after its most senior member, Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, got a scolding from Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno during debates on the petition questioning the legality of the cybercrime law.

An unimpeachable source of The Manila Times said Sereno shouted at Carpio during the Court’s last en banc deliberations in December.

The source said Carpio wanted a more liberal interpretation of the cybercrime law, while Associate Justice Marvic Leonen proposed that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to be given “fangs in penalizing offenders of the law.”

The Court insider said Sereno sided with Leonen, who is her close friend.

The two justices were debating the draft ponencia of Justice Roberto Abad. While Carpio was speaking, Leonen kept butting in.

At this point, Sereno admonished Carpio. “Justice Carpio keep quiet! Justice Leonen has the floor we should listen to him,” the source quoted the Chief Justice.

Sereno’s behavior is said to have shocked the other justices.

“Na-shock kami. Hindi namin akalain sigawan ni Meilou [Sereno’s nickname] si Tony [Carpio]. Walang gumawa kay Carpio ng ganun, si Sereno pa lang nakagawa noon,” the source said. [We were all shocked. We never imagined Meilou to shout at Tony. No one has ever done that to Carpio but Sereno].”

The source recalled that former Chief Justice Renato Corona treated Carpio with respect even if they were not in good terms.

“We knew that Chief Corona and Justice Carpio were at odds because of the chief justiceship issue but they never resorted to shouting matches. They can disagree without being disagreable,” the source said.

He said Carpio managed to keep his cool despite Sereno’s outburst.

“Justice Carpio did not react. He seldom reacts. But to shout at him in an en banc is to insult him,” the source said.

He said the other justices admired Carpio for not fighting back despite the rude treatment he got from Sereno.

A Court insider said they fear that Sereno may have dug her grave because she has officially declared war against Carpio.

Another source believes Carpio will not take the incident sitting down.

“Sereno had better watch out. Carpio may be quiet but he is dangerous. He will get back at her,” the source said.

Carpio is one of the founders of the Carpio Villaraza Cruz Marcelo law office, which is popularly known as “The Firm.” The law office became very powerful and influential in the appointment of several justices and judges, especially during the Arroyo administration.

The Manila Times learned that Sereno’s position was “brokered” by The Firm.

A magistrate said Sereno was introduced to President Benigno Aquino 3rd as the architect of the Philippines’ victory in the Piatco case in Singapore.

“But in truth, Sereno was just a legal researcher in the Piatco case. She was only tapped by her mentor, retired SC Justice Florentino Feliciano, to do the research and make annexes in the documents,” a source said.

Carpio reportedly approved of Sereno as a candidate for associate justice of the Supreme Court and the first appointee of Aquino at the High Court.

Carpio’s former law partner, Avelino “Nonong” Cruz, the lawyer of then Vice Presidential candidate Mar Roxas, allegedly lobbied for Sereno’s appointment.

Sereno was allegedly tasked to fight for Roxas in his election protest before the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, against Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“Sereno was a creation of The Firm, Carpio in particular. Now the tables have been turned. Sereno is the Chief Justice and Carpio is just the number two man in the Supreme Court,” the source added.

21 Responses to Infighting looms at High Court

  1. Hyggo says:

    A Chief Justice that can assert herself against the biggest egos and personalities in the Supreme Court?

    I guess Aquino picked the right CJ.

  2. raul lacuna says:

    Just shows you that in the Philippines, there’s no difference between educated and uneducated individuals. They’re all tactless, self serving individuals, ignorant of proper decorum and civilized behaviour.

  3. David says:

    Sereno will be removed from her chair soon. Corona’s impeachment was illegal, Sereno’s appointment is a dirty fruit of that action. Karma.

    • Artemio Layug says:

      Soon? She can only be removed by an impeachment process and not during Pnoy’s tenure, while he still got a hold on congress. This means the impeachment would be in 2016 or else the Filipino people would have to wait until she reaches a retirement age of 70, ten years from now.

  4. Arrested says:

    PETTY!!!! Thank God the US Supreme Court is not like this. Hire more judges. Require graduating law students to undergo internship with incompetent MTC and RTC judges to help them decide more cases and require them to file Amicus briefs to help fast track cases.

  5. democratico pinas says:

    This is a goooood sign for the SC justices. It mean they are putting all cards of ideas on the table. Respect is subjective. So long after the argument they are friends, no personal vendetta, just work.
    Ideas can be good or bad and right or wrong, but at the end they come out with consensus good for the interest of the nation.
    Just like religions and political ideas……Christian, Jews, Muslim, etc, and Monarchy, Jacobins, Capitalist, Communist, socialist, etc.

  6. John Paul says:

    I know Justice Sereno is a moral person maybe she know of something about Carpio that’s why she’s asserting some kind of authority. I remember this Corona guy who used to project himself as a religious guy only to find out that he’s one of the scalawags in the judiciary. Hayy naku, only in the Philippiness! May God have mercy.

  7. Ed says:

    We expect the same attitudes to all the “TOTAS” ni Aquino. They say, what ever the boss is, the Totas thinks they are already the boss. Parang langaw. Dapat the boss should humble himself so that the subordinates will do the same. Si Sereno akala niya sya na pinakamagaling pero ang appointment niya ay hindi due to qualifications but palakasan.

  8. Ramon says:

    kailangan lang kasi merong ISANG senador na UMAMIN na tumanggap ng BRIBE, at hindi incentive kuno…para ma-invalidate ang impeachment kay Corona…

    then, pwede siyang maibalik, at matanggal itong si Sereno…

    ahs talaga, di ba…kinalaban pa ang dati niyang amo….this will be interesting to watch…

    bastusan na ito….! The usual fare in the Aquino administration…

  9. dustin says:

    So if the one supreme court justice was speaking then shouldnt carpio have kept quiet& if he didnt & the chief justice told him to keep quiet it seems to me it was his own fault & it was him disrespecting the other justice. If i have it wrong im sorry but if i have it right then carpio should have appolagised. But you filipinos cant take any criticism at all at any level, you look on criticism as an insult. I suggest you need to change your way of thinking.

    • Manny says:

      The way it has transpired, I agree with you

    • marlon says:

      it is very clear that Justice Carpio is speaking and Justice Leonen is keep on butting in. How come that Justice Carpio is now the disrespectful guy? It should be Justice Leonen who must be scolded by the Chief Justice because he did not know what proper decorum is. Once a person is speaking the other must listen.

    • Earl says:

      It was carpio who is talking while leonen kept on butting in..sereno shouted at carpio because he wants her friend (leonen) to talk..

  10. Johnny Ramos says:

    It was former Chief Justice Puno who recommended justice Sereno to Pnoy.

  11. Nou says:

    Birds of the same feather flock together!!! only in the Philippines

  12. Guadalupe says:

    If SC Chief Justice Sereno did what she did to Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, it is because she believed she can get away with it. She probably thought her “friendly relations” with the appointing power gives her license to be insulting to her associates. Perhaps it’s time for former chief justice Corona to challenge his impeachment on the ground that there was no impartiality among the senator-judges because they were bribed to render the impeachment verdict. Former Chief Justice Puno said that if this were the case, Justice Corona could be reinstated.

    • Manny says:

      Guadalupe… enough with Corona.He has been exposed too much and people are not blind.With the bribe or not, majority of the masses convicted him.Let’s move on and this is a different issue with the SC that we have to focus on.

  13. jrmagtago says:

    well after that deliberation about cybercrime law eh tignan natin kung ano ang desisyon nitong sc ukol sa cybercrime law at pag pinasa nila iyang cybercrime law ay nako netizens maghanda na naman tayo ukol dito.

  14. rose says:

    Shouting a senior (literally and figuratively) Justice of the Supreme Court in and en banc meeting is Serena’s idea of “Dignified Silence” of the Supreme Court.

    But I cannot blame the Serena, after all she miserably failed in her psychological test. By the way, pareho lang sila ni Leonen na bumagsak so, bff nga sila ni Leonen. I can only blame CNoy for choosing a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who has a disturbed mind like him.

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