The Third World Studies Center (TWSC), College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines Diliman held a public forum, “Kanino Kinikilig ang Korte Suprema?”, on May 10, 2018 at the National Engineering Center Auditorium in UP Diliman, Quezon City. Forum speakers discussed relevant dynamics between the country’s solicitor general and the Supreme Court, the Quo Warranto petition against Chief Justice (CJ) Maria Lourdes Sereno, and recent political developments under the Duterte administration.
Associate Professor Victoria Avena of the UP College of Law and former Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza served as resource speakers. TWSC Director Ricardo T. Jose served as moderator.
In her presentation, Avena discussed the primary grounds given by Philippine Solicitor General (Sol. Gen.) Jose Calida for the Quo Warranto petition to oust CJ Serreno vis a vis the Constitutional qualifications and processes pertaining to the CJ’s appointment and impeachment proceedings. Mendoza, for his part, contrasted the role and dynamics of the office of the Sol. Gen. and the Supreme Court of the country with that of their counterparts in the United States to provide the audience with insights on their respective relationships and on the possible outcomes of the then-pending decision on the Quo Warranto petition.
When asked about the dangers posed by recent political developments, Mendoza said that although he held his own opinions on the Quo Warranto issue, he reiterated that his role for this forum was to teach law, and it was now up to the students and the public to form their own informed opinions. Avena, warning on the threat of absolutism and of institutions possibly undermining democracy and the rule of law in the country, added that it would also depend on how the members of the Supreme Court would decide.
This forum was the third in the 2018 TWSC Public Forum Series that explores the theme “Sa Bungad ng Diktadura?”. The first, “Matotokhang ba ang 1987 Constitution?”, focused on Charter Change and was held on February 23. The second, “Puro bato na ba ang mga unipormado?”, revolved around the role of the country’s police and military institutions during times of Constitutional debacle and was held on April 10. Both forums were held at the Benitez Theater, College of Education in UP Diliman. Photos and videos of, and papers on the three forums were published by the TWSC in their blog https://uptwsc.blogspot.com/. (Fred Dabu, UP MPRO)