LONDON, Great Britain (The Adobo Chronicles, Berlin Bureau) – Ousted Philippine Supreme Court Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is taking her case to the news media, making the rounds of television shows both in the Philippines and abroad.
She was interviewed by BBC’s Stephen Sackur on the latter’s ‘Hard Talk’ program.
While the interview is still scheduled to be aired at an undisclosed date, The Adobo Chronicles was able to obtain a copy of the broadcast’s transcript, thanks to our man in London, Crispulo Bacud Tappa.
Here’s Part 1 of the interview:
SACKUR: Welcome to HARDTALK….Madam Maria Lourdes Sereno.
SERENO: Thank you, Mr. SACKUR. It’s a pleasure to be here on HARDTALK.
SACKUR: Let’s get to the point as we have only 15 minutes airtime. How has it affected you that you have been ousted as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines?
SERENO: Before we go any further, can we pray and invoke the presence of the Lord in this episode? (Hearing this, Sackur makes the sign of the cross as Madam Sereno mumbles a prayer.)
SERENO: In my Christian belief, we don’t make the sign of the cross. In fact, in my Chamber, whenever we met, I did not allow that practice among my colleagues.
To answer your question, I insist that it was not legal for my co-equals to judge me via Quo Warranto as my case was best handled by the Senate being an impeachable officer.
SACKUR: Well, it looks like the justices knew what they were doing applying the rule of ab initio, finding that you were not qualified from the start. That implies that you usurped the position of Chief Justice. You arrogated unto yourself the powers and authority that was not yours from day one of your asumption into office.
SERENO: Well, that was their opinion but certainly the Senate would probably have a different opinion given a chance to try my case.
SACKUR: You were a classmate of Ex PNoy. Did that have any bearing at all in your appointment as Chief Justice?
SERENO: I don’t deny that. We have what we call an informal grouping called KKK.
SACKUR: (Surprised) You mean KU KLUX KLAN?
KABARILAN, (we shoot together)
KACLASSMATE, (we are classmates)
KAKURAKUTAN (We are Corrupt Altogether)
SACKUR: I don’t understand. Please elaborate.
SERENO: In school where we came from, we were trained to be businessmen first and foremost. So, even if PNoy and I had different educational backgrounds, our primordial goal was to make hay while in the government service. We scratched each other’s back. As a lawyer, I gave PNoy sound legal advise to protect his family’s business interest and in return he gave me a lot of opportunities to make my own dough such as when he assigned me to lawyer for the government in the PIATCO case. And later, he arm-twisted JBC, which broke all rules, and made sure that I got appointed as the youngest Chief Justice.
SACKUR: I see, but there is a time in your life that you should be able to say no to corruption, isn’t it?
SERENO: Politics in the Philippines is like swimming in a river. You have a choice to swim with or against the current. Once you are in it, it is a battle for survival. If you want to survive, you need to cling to those who are in power. Resistance will not save you. It will leave you politically and economically dead.
For Part 2 of the interview, click link below: