We have to squarely confront the issue, since the Supreme Court represents the rule of rationality, the foundation of any civilized society. My apologies to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, but she brought this on herself, because of her greed for more glory, not content with her appointment—itself already undeserved—as associate justice in 2010.
A more principled, moral person—or even one just in touch with reality—would have declined her appointment as Chief Justice, which is as clear as day not due to President Aquino’s concern for the judiciary but to his wish to control it.
Now, it’s not only her legal competence but also her mental health that are in question.
First, a newspaper reported that Sereno’s psychiatric test, which the Judicial and Bar Council required, showed her to be psychologically unqualified for the post. In the test’s rating system of 1 (a healthy psyche) to 5 (psychotic), Sereno purportedly made a grade of 4, a “not satisfactory” rating. With that kind of psychological profile, not even a mediocre law firm would hire her, nor would she even qualify as a municipal trial judge.
The alleged findings are alarming: “dramatic and emotional, she appears energetic and all smiles and agreeable, but with religious preoccupation in almost all significant aspects of her life. She projects a happy mood but has depressive markers too. There is a strong tendency to make decisions based on current mood thus, outcome is highly subjective and self-righteous.”
The JBC has not belied that report and several associate justices of the Supreme Court have asked the tribunal to publicly disclose her psychiatric-test results.
Second, she said before the high court’s staff Monday (translated from Filipino): “The whole world is witness that my appointment as Chief Justice is God’s will. No one person did this, much less any political bloc.”
I need not propound how crazy that statement is. One can only wonder if the insanity is in her delusion that Mr. Aquino is the Deity or if she has regular conversations with God. She invokes not only God but also the whole world as her witnesses, and she’s sane?
What is alarming for our country is that many have shrugged off Mr. Aquino’s outrageous appointment, with the mainstream press referring to it merely as “breaking tradition.”
Never has there been in our modern history such an appalling appointment by the President of somebody so clearly and so grossly unqualified to head the highest court of the land, or even to any high post, with the appointee’s sole qualification being her proven servility to the appointing power.
Mr. Aquino’s apologists have even misrepresented facts in their blind praise of a mediocre lawyer becoming Chief Justice.
One wrote: “(Sereno) served as executive director of the Policy Center of the Asian Institute of Management where she pursued her interest in policy reform.”
The post of “executive director” is an insignificant administrative job in the pretentiously named “AIM Policy Center,” whose main activity in the past many years has been to host the press launches of researches of other bodies. Sereno took that trifling job in 2009, as she was underemployed after inexplicably leaving her teaching post at the University of the Philippines law school in 2006. That “Center” doesn’t even do research on judicial policy reform. Sereno in fact in her entire working life had shown scant interest in judicial policy reform, and preferred international commercial law.
The writer continued: “She practiced law for 25 years before joining the Supreme Court two years ago. Notably, she and retired Justice Florentino Feliciano won the arbitration cases … against the Philippine government in connection with the construction of the airport’s Terminal III.”
She didn’t practice law for 25 years: She just taught law courses for most of her working life, and has never even been inside a courtroom. She was merely the 77-year-old Feliciano’s assistant—his documentation lawyer—in those arbitration cases. Feliciano wasn’t even the lead counsel in those cases but the New York-based White & Case’s senior partner Carolynn Lamm.
And why did Feliciano get her as his assistant? For some reason, the country’s sage on international commercial law seems to have taken a liking to her as a favorite assistant, whose first job after college was in his law firm. When Feliciano joined the World Trade Organization’s appellate body in 1998, she joined him for a 4-month stay in Geneva that year as a lawyer in that body’s secretariat.
Give her a chance, Mr. Aquino’s apologists say. After all, she can be impeached and she won’t be a stooge when Mr. Aquino steps down in 2016. Nearly 40 years ago also in a September, that was the same admonition, given even by distinguished personalities like then Marcos true-believer Vicente Paterno: Give martial law a chance.
It took Mr. Aquino nearly half a year and a lot of his political capital to remove Chief Justice Renato Corona. That consumed the time and energies of Congress and the Supreme Court that they were distracted from their more important, urgent tasks; violated the integrity of our bank secrecy laws; shamelessly took into the conspiracy the Bureau of Internal Revenue head, the Land Registration Authority administrator, the Anti-Money Laundering Council executive director, and even the Ombudsman.
All that just to replace Corona not only with his marionette unqualified for the post, but somebody who could be cuckoo? God forbid: Could Mr. Aquino and Sereno be of the same feather?
Dear Mrs. Chief Justice: Disclose your psychiatric test results to prove the allegation wrong. Your psychological health is a more important piece of data than your financial condition you claim in your SALN.