Aquino buries hatchet against the judiciary

President Benigno Aquino and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno Maria

President Benigno Aquino and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

It beats everybody what made President Benigno Aquino (PNoy) change his mind about Chief Justice (CJ) Maria Lourdes Sereno and the Supreme Court (SC), but it was sure a nice and welcome gesture when he urged Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and Congress leaders to comply with all SC rulings.

Somehow it brings relief to the Filipinos that instead of bickering with one another, the three equal branches of government are coming together with greater understanding and respect for one another.

Thank goodness, it finally dawned on PNoy that as a leader he should respect the independence and integrity of the SC, it being the final arbiter and interpreter of the law as delegated y the Constitution.

It should be remembered that months before, PNoy always took a potshot at the high court, when occasion warranted, for striking down as unconstitutional certain acts under his administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

This time, however, during PNoy’s speech at the Second State Conference on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which was attended by CJ Sereno, Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and other members of the legislature, the president told Abad to immediately address the judiciary’s financial needs to carry out its reforms.

PNoy also exhorted Congress leaders to do their share, saying, “Since the approving authority is present also, perhaps we can talk to them for the speedy inclusion of what is necessary to help the judiciary in our common fight against corruption, making sure that we are complaint with all the directives from them.”

This, after Sereno, in her speech in the same event, called on the administration to increase funding for the SC’s efforts to modernize the judiciary and in the process minimize and/or eliminate corruption in her department.

“We continue to push for the modernization of our courts and the automation of our processes. We strongly believe that technology can be an effective anti-corruption tool as it minimizes the areas of human intervention,” Sereno said.

“Such initiatives require funding, and that is the reason why we continue to appeal for additional budgetary support,” she added.

The top magistrate said the judiciary is serious in weeding out its corrupt members and to prove, she cited the case of former Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory Ong who was had been dismissed over links with alleged pork barrel fund scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

With the hatchet being buried and the determination to defeat corruption is stronger now in the judiciary, the support given by the executive and legislative leaders, hopefully, should usher a new beginning of a speedy grind and fast resolution of justice in the country.

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