For this grandma, Supreme Court turn of events is eerily familiar

May 14, 2018 - 7:00 AM
3257
Former President Ferdinand Marcos having a meeting with the military officials during Philippines' Martial Law. (Wikimedia Commons/Released)
FROM AROUND THE WEB

A Twitter thread has gone viral as Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is removed from her post on Friday.

The tweets by account Isko Speaks, seemingly run by a University of the Philippines student, that shares the author’s grandmother’s tearful reaction to the turn of events at the Supreme Court.

The grandmother commented that people do not seem to learn from their mistakes in the past, pointedly referring to how Sereno’s case was handled.

The posts also mentioned that the pain and the trauma felt by Martial Law victims would never disappear.

 

The Official Gazette reported that “around 8,000 individuals, including senators, civil libertarians, journalists, students, and labor leaders, were arrested and detained without due process upon the declaration of martial law.”

Death of Philippine democracy?

Sereno’s removal was the first time that a chief justice was ousted through a quo warranto petition, questioning whether or not her appointment by the former president was a valid one.

It was deemed a forewarning of a “constitutional crisis” where other public officials may be removed without undergoing an impeachment trial or be deprived of liberty without due process.

Senators have slammed the decision and said that it violates the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros described it as a “black day for justice and rule of law,” adding:

“The Supreme Court has fallen, and fallen hard in the eyes of the public.”

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said the situation is “the darkest hour in our democracy.”

“Those SC justices who committed this heinous crime against our justice system must not and will not go unpunished.”

Gio Tingson, a spokesman for activist group Akbayan, noted that the decision meant a “heartbeat away from the death of our (the Philippines’) democracy.”

When President Ferdinand Marcos martial rule on Sept. 21, 1972, it was “the day when democracy died in the Philippines.” Marcos went on to become a dictator who ruled for two decades.

Recalling the dark times 

Under Marcos’ authoritarian regime, the media was controlled by the state through cronies, businesses were similarly seized and civil liberties were curtailed.

Public officials who criticized the government were immediately arrested, alongside other opposition leaders. Some of them include former senators Benigno Aquino Jr., Jose “Pepe” Diokno, Ramon Mitra Jr. and Francisco “Soc” Rodrigo.

Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus, allowing law enforcers to arrest anyone without any warrant.

Congress was also shut down, transferring the powers of lawmaking to the president.