MANILA Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro on Monday asserted that the judiciary will continue to uphold its independence as she called on other branches of government to respect the Supreme Court (SC).
"We demand respect from the other co-equal branches of the government. The other members of the co-equal and independent branches of the government should understand that based on our constitutional order, the decisions reached by the justices of the Supreme Court whether unanimously or by majority vote must be respected," de Castro said in a speech during her first flag ceremony as top magistrate of the High Court.
According to de Castro, this means showing respect for individual members of the court as well as its decisions.
We should be left alone to decide for ourselves. People outside would like to judge us by what they see or hear from afar but it is us, the justices and officials of the Court, who know what is happening inside the Supreme Court and we should be left alone, De Castro said.
De Castro received a warm welcome from SC officials and employees who were clad in blue.
According to the Supreme Court Employees Association (SCEA), this symbolizes the return of peace in the judiciary.
Of the 12 other SC justices, only Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa was not present during the flag-raising ceremony.
De Castro, meanwhile, thanked her colleagues and the employees of the SC for their resiliency and dedication to their duties.
"The first lesson that we learned from this is with the support of the officials and employees of the court, we can surmount every obstacle because you are standing solidly behind the justices, the justices were able to weather the storm that was besetting the court during those times, so we thank you for this," de Castro said.
"Your support spelled a difference in the understanding in what the Supreme Court is aspiring for during the time that we went through the turbulent months here in the court," she added.
De Castro explained that the SC is not just about the Chief Justice because the chief magistrate is only the first but equal to the other justices of the Supreme Court.
She reiterated her intent of restoring collegiality in the High Court as she stressed that its rulings are issued based on the collective action of its members.
"The Chief Justice is the first that equal nevertheless with each of the associate justice of the court. No one can claim superiority over the others and we decide for cases whether judicial or administrative with one vote each," she said.
De Castro technically became the first female Chief Justice and the 24th top magistrate of the High Court, after the appointment of her predecessor, Maria Lourdes Sereno, was found to have been invalid. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency