I refrain from critiquing the impeachment hearing and testimony of Chief Justice Corona as I tend to have compassion for the emotionally challenged.
But I'd like to comment on the complaint of court employees that the impeachment of the Chief Justice infringes on the independence of the judiciary.
I'm not convinced court employees even understand what independence means.
Independence does NOT mean left alone to wield justice in some cocoon that seals the courts off from any engagement with the Legislative and Executive branches. All branches of government must interact in order to understand one another, and to provide the checks and balances that keep government from slipping into autocracy or incompetence.
So when the Supreme Court acts on the constitutionality of a law passed by the Legislature, it is not infringing on the independence of the Legislature. It is doing its job. Or if it cites an executive order as unconstitutional, it is not infringing on the independence of the Executive branch. It is doing its job.
The impeachment process is a legal foundation of Philippine democracy. The Legislature is charged with the "job" of assuring impeachable officials are not on a wayward path. It is astounding to me that workers in the branch of government that protects and serves this democracy somehow see it as an infringement upon their independence. Indeed, in this case, impeachment is aimed at ASSURING independence of the courts.
And the Ombudsman has a job to do, too, and if anyone were to respect this job, it would be an impartial judge.
How is it, then, that court employees feel such a threat?
Well, for one thing, their "leader" has painted the picture that way. One of grand victim.
One clear conclusion that can be drawn from the Chief Justice's opening statement is that he has failed to disassociate himself emotionally and politically from the other branches of government. His hyper-sensitivity to criticism and process has placed him on the defensive, and on the attack, blaming his troubles on the President and the 188 members of the House who impeached him. And on the Ombudsman who was, after all, simply doing her job with the best information available. The Chief Justice having secured all other avenues of access to his financial records.
So here we have a Chief Justice who does not grant other parts of government the right to abide by their oaths of public service. To do their jobs. He sees threats everywhere. He establishes the hyper-sensitive pipelines to other branches of government that erode the essential judicial mandate of separation and impartiality. The scary thing is that the entire roster of court employees seems have to taken up the flag of sensitivity and is waving it in public demonstrations. THEY, too, are undermining judicial independence because they have no idea what impartiality means. THEY, too, are emotional.
It takes discipline to hold to a steady course in a storm. To think proper thoughts rather than bow to emotions. It takes maturity and perspective. The maturity of the wise. The perspective of the aloof, the observer, the man who stands alone on the mountain top and sees all that is happening below, without climbing down and mucking around in what is happening below.
Senator Enrile has it.
The Chief Justice has come down from the mountain and the price is lost independence of and respect for the judiciary. Lost is impartiality. And lost is the TRUST we must have that the judicial mind is an extraordinary mind, an objective mind, that can reflect on all facts and render clear judgment.
Impeachment is not an infringement on independence of the courts.
It ASSURES independence by making sure the Chief Justice is influenced by no forces other than law, fact and reason.
His personal sensitivity is wrong for the top judicial official in the land. His need to blame and make excuses and whine undermines the impartial integrity of the courts. The bedrock of its independence.