Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno wrote her separate opinion on the Reproductive Health Law in Tagalog, in an attempt to endear the court to the masses..
Sereno wrote her concurring and separate opinion with the words “Opinyong Sumasang-Ayon at Sumasalungat.”
This is not the first time that a dissenting or concurring opinion was written in Tagalog.
The first magistrate who wrote one in Tagalog was SC Justice Emilio Gancayco who was appointed after the Edsa Revolution.
The second magistrate of the high court who wrote his rulings in Filipino was Justice Ruben Reyes.
According to an SC Justice who refused to be named, Sereno was just grandstanding.
Some justices believe that she cannot pursue it for long because the laws were all written in English.
Sereno’s attempt to declare almost all the provisions of the law as constitutional failed.
Meanwhile, the chief justice was annoyed by the leakage to The Manila Times that pre-empted the ruling of the SC declaring the constitutionality of the Reproductive Health Law.
According to a well-placed Times source in the high court, an expression of irritation was seen in Sereno’s face during their en banc session in Baguio City on Tuesday.
The Times was able to break the story that the SC will declare RH law as constitutional, as leaked by unimpeachable sources in the judiciary.
In fact, the provisions which were expected to be declared unconstitutional were also forecast, particularly Sections 7, 17 and 23 or the penal clauses of the law.
At their session on Tuesday, the justices voted and officially ruled that RH law was legal, eventually confirming the Times story. The ruling was later given to SC Public Information Office chief Atty. Theodore Te who held a press briefing in Baguio City.
The source said that SC Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta said in jest that there was no need for a press briefing since the same ruling which they voted upon was already printed by the Times on Monday.
The remark drew laughter from Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and the other justices.
But Sereno was obviously irked.
“Meilou [Sereno] was scowling at Dado’s [Peralta] joke that a presscon was unnecessary because Canlas broke the news in The Manila Times,” the source said.
He said, Sereno were irked because she was unable to control the stories of the newspaper.
“She is helpless in preventing leakage, since the justices do not listen to her because they do not respect her,” the source pointed out.
The Chief Justice had pleaded with the 14 associate justices not to leak their rulings to the Times.
While the SC en banc was discussing the cybercrime law petitions, Sereno suddenly asked her colleagues not to disclose the result of their voting and decisions.
“I beg you. This might be leaked again to Jomar Canlas,” Sereno blurted out.