Lights in defeat
THE petition on the Quo Warranto has been granted by the justices in the Supreme Court with a vote of 8-6. In effect the justices have ousted SC Sereno from being the Chief Justice. This is a big defeat for thousands of lawyers, civil society people, leaders of the academe, religious people, students and many other groups and sectors in society who have lobbied, prayed and even marched in front of the Supreme Court for several days to warn the justices and the people at large of the subversion of democracy in the country if the Chief Justice is removed by the Quo Warranto. In spite of all these warnings, rallies and prayers the justices stone-heartedly approved the petition.
In this darkness of defeat, however, lights of hope have shone . This somehow is a reflection of the Paschal Mystery where life came out of death. The Jericho March was a success. The walls of Jericho fell when the Israelites marched around it. The Supreme Court building did not fall down when Evangelicals and Catholics marched around the block of the Supreme Court early this morning. But the Supreme Court fell today. It self-destructed by granting the Quo Warranto. It fell from its being a bastion of independence in our democratic system. It lost the esteem and even the respect of the people. It has shown its true and unmistakable color of being now a tool of Duterte. It is now a Duterte Court.
Another light: the quo warranto issue has united broad segments’ of Philippine society. Evangelicals and Catholics have come together, so also Church people and civic organizations. Urban poor organizations have joined forces with the middle class. Student organizations have been organized. Groups from different political spectrums marched together. The various colors of flags that flown this morning along Taft Avenue and Padre Faura Street was a sight to see. Speakers from various persuasions spoke out in a hastily built stage in Taft Avenue in the morning, with claps of approval coming from all.
The decision of the justices has heightened the level of engagement of the groups. Yes, there is anger at eight justices who voted for the quo warranto, but more than that, people have already openly expressed the call for Duterte to resign. The fight now moves from the Supreme Court to Malacañang because people clearly see now the dictatorial moves of the Duterte regime. It has become unmistakable.
The decision did not dampen the mood of the people. It angers them all the more. They resolve to more actions is palpable in the hearts and speeches of many. Expect more mobilizations. Expect more protests. Expect more unmasking of the hypocrisy of Duterte and his cohorts.
As CJ Sereno said in her short speech before the crowd around noon, we did not really lose. If the 6 justices who have already accused her had inhibited themselves, as they should have done if there was an iota of decency in them, the vote would have been 6-2, with 6 dismissing the quo warranto petition. If the playing field were level, the petition would have been squashed. How could accusers take the function of judges? Is there justice here?
The Supreme Court has fallen. Malacañang will be the next!