Sun.Star Baguio - - OPINION -

REFUSING to lis­ten to her co-work­ers’ call for her to re­sign is fool­hardy of ChiefJus­tice-On-Leave Ma. Lour­des Sereno. She is not read­ing cor­rectly the writ­ings on the wall. She can in­sist all she wants that im­peach­ment is the only con­sti­tu­tional way to re­move her.

But she needs to see that the na­tion’s court work­ers, a good num­ber of them any­way, are sin­cerely telling her that res­ig­na­tion might be the more hon­or­able way of pre­serv­ing “ju­di­cial in­de­pen­dence” and pre­vent­ing its be­ing “un­der­mined.” Im­peach­ment, be­ing con­sti­tu­tional, is not an in­fringe­ment on ju­di­cial in­de­pen­dence. The Quo War­ranto case might be.

But the fact that the Supreme Court is en­ter­tain­ing it tells us it is not un­con­sti­tu­tional and does not un­der­mine ju­di­cial in­de­pen­dence. She ought to re­al­ize that she is fight­ing her war on two fronts.

The calls for her to re­sign are clear in­di­ca­tions that co-work­ers in the ju­di­ciary (no­tably in­clud­ing as­so­ciate jus­tices) are not back­stop­ping her stand against those whom she thinks “have un­der­mined the ju­di­ciary.” So, even if she wins the im­peach­ment bat­tle on one front, she would have al­ready lost the bat­tle to unite the Supreme Court on the other front.

She is also right that “hurts can be healed.” But that’s eas­ier said than done. Be­sides, the ques­tion is not that but this: does she have the lead­er­ship qual­ity (of emo­tional in­tel­li­gence?) needed to unite a di­vided court? Like will she, even if ac­quit­ted, be able to heal the hurt of the eight jus­tices that tes­ti­fied against her in Congress? Awk­ward, isn’t it? That as­so­ciate jus­tices showed up at the Con­gres­sional hear­ings means they did not see the lat­ter as at­tacks on ju­di­cial in­de­pen­dence.

More­over, that as­so­ciate jus­tices asked her to go on leave (ini­tially res­ig­na­tion but they could only be unan­i­mous with an in­def­i­nite leave) also means that the Supreme Court was not feel­ing any in­fringe­ment on their in­de­pen­dence.

Oth­er­wise, they would have unan­i­mously and staunchly stood by their Chief Jus­tice. Like it or not, Chief-Jus­tice-On-Leave Ma. Lour­des Sereno has lost the Supreme Court. No­body can force her to re­sign and no­body is forc­ing her to. But the pleas for her to re­sign mean she has lost the bat­tle in home court.

It means that even if she won in the im­peach­ment court she would have no home court to re­turn to.

How would she lead co-work­ers in the ju­di­ciary that in­stead of stand­ing by her asked her to re­sign? She could more eas­ily unify the Supreme Court against po­lit­i­cal in­fringe­ment by re­sign­ing be­cause if she, as re­quested, made the “ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice for the sake of the ju­di­ciary and of the peo­ple” she would come out of the fray a hero and pa­triot.

From the drift of events, to do oth­er­wise is fool­hardy. SSCebu an over­sight com­mit­tee is also cre­ated to mon­i­tor com­pli­ance with the pro­vi­sions as well as im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­posed mea­sure.

The said over­sight com­mit­tee shall be headed by the City Mayor as chair­man and the with the chair­per­son of the Com­mit­tee on Law, Hu­man Rights and Jus­tice of the City Coun­cil as Vice-chair­man and to in­clude the fol­low­ing mem­bers: (a) the head of the Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights Of­fice, Baguio city, (b) the re­spec­tive chair­per­sons of the Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Pro­tec­tion, Safety and Peace and Or­der and the Com­mit­tee on Barangay Af­fairs of the City Coun­cil of Baguio.

As to the amount of one mil­lion two hun­dred and eighty thou­sand pe­sos pro­posed to be ap­pro­pri­ated for the pro­gram this shall be equally di­vided among the one hun­dred and twenty eight barangays in the City of Baguio dur­ing the ini­tial phase of im­ple­men­ta­tion and there­after such sums as may be needed shall be ap­pro­pri­ated for the con­tin­ued im­ple­men­ta­tion of the said pro­posal.

Coun­cilor Olowan jus­ti­fied the pro­posal to op­er­a­tional­ize the BHRAC and the BHRAO cit­ing Sec­tion 11 of R.A. 9745 which man­dates the cre­ation and recog­ni­tion of an op­er­a­tional barangay hu­man rights ac­tion cen­ter with a func­tional barangay hu­man rights ac­tion of­fi­cer, thus al­low­ing vic­tims of hu­man rights or other in­ter­ested par­ties to seek le­gal as­sis­tance from the said BHRAC near­est them as well as from hu­man rights non-gov­ern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions (NGOs). they can to gen­er­ate cash. They don’t mind go­ing to loan sharks just to make sure there is money to send. Par­ents need the help of the gov­ern­ment to ful­fill their dreams for their chil­dren. Most of the times, teenagers need rules and reg­u­la­tions to straighten their think­ing. This is not un­der­es­ti­mat­ing their abil­ity of good de­ci­sion­mak­ing but the data of teenage preg­nancy is one proof that most of our youth to­day need guid­ance.

Stay­ing in a board­ing house away from home is a sur­vival mode for stu­dents. It’s a test of char­ac­ter. It’s a check of per­son­al­ity and a mea­sure how strong a young per­son is. There’s no mother to tell that love can wait or a fa­ther to stop one from sip­ping a col­or­less ‘two by two’ gin mixed with a solo C2. The de­ci­sion is left to the young per­son alone. If stu­dents are fo­cused, psy­cho­log­i­cally strong, and spir­i­tu­ally grounded, they have a big chance to sur­vive. If not, they can be eas­ily trapped, get preg­nant or im­preg­nate.

Board­ing houses have now de­vel­oped from mere sleep­ing and study­ing ar­eas to lovers’ nests. This shows on the soar­ing statis­tics of teenagers, mostly stu­dents, who get preg­nant. The bad con­se­quences are many. It af­fects the lives of nu­mer­ous in­di­vid­u­als from the young par­ents, the child, the fam­i­lies, and the com­mu­nity. It causes poverty. It is one rea­son of fam­ily dis­in­te­gra­tion. The gov­ern­ment must do its part in tak­ing care of the youth by com­bat­ing early preg­nancy. First thing to do is knock­ing on board­ers’ doors. Rules and reg­u­la­tions for board­ing houses must be set. Board­ing house own­ers must be warned and teenagers must be re­minded un­less this re­gion wants to keep this drab record.

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