MANILA – Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno reiterated the Supreme Court’s independence adding that their loyalty lies not in any branch of the government, but in the Constitution.
“It should be clear to everybody that the Supreme Court could only be loyal to the Constitution,” she said in a meeting with the media on Thursday.
The chief justice called on the public to keep their faith in the high court, adding that the court’s strength is rooted in public trust and that “the judiciary is strong if the people believe in it.”
“It is always important for me to uphold the independence of my office on a daily basis,” she said. “It is important that people see that the Chief Justice has the Constitution first and foremost on her mind, and her devotion to duty and her loyalty to country is always unquestioned.”
The statement was made by the chief justice several hours after President Aquino made a statement over the radio saying that he is open to amend the constitution to keep the judiciary’s power in check.
Aquino made the statement following the SC’s declaration of several parts of the administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to be unconstitutional.
Aquino also called on the justices to disclose their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs), as a move to a greater transparency in the judiciary.
Despite these statements, Sereno gave no direct response.
“I have enormous respect for the President and I’m sure he also respects the office of the Chief Justice,” she said. “The professionalism with which I conduct myself must be consistent. I do not read anything into his (Aquino’s) statements,” she said.
“What I am, what we are is an independent court, and that should remain the way it is,” she said. “We are going to assure our people that … that our independence will be maintained to the end,” she added.