SC’s show-cause order
There are newspaper reports that I will be required by the Supreme Court to show cause why I should not be cited for contempt, presumably for writing several items about a lady justice who allegedly took a bribe.
Officially, I have not been served any such order.
I beg the indulgence of the Court if I say I find the order rather premature. There has been no investigation, at least not yet. In which case, I believe the matter should be referred to Congress so that, without necessarily suggesting that this might happen, the tribunal will not be accused of protecting its own.
I know that only Congress can investigate an impeachable officer. I do not believe that the Supreme Court has the power to investigate a sitting magistrate. Precisely because it could be accused of protecting its own.
No power to exonerate
There were newspaper reports that Justice Consuelo Yñares Santiago demanded that an investigation be conducted since she felt alluded to in the many items I wrote about the alleged bribery. I had wanted to appear before the Court myself. And I want to appear if a show-cause order is issued, if only to substantiate my belief that only Congress can investigate an impeachable official.
While I repeatedly hinted at investigation, and there just might be one, I now dare say that the Supreme Court has no power to exonerate or punish the lady justice. It does not have the authority precisely because, in my belief, only Congress can investigate a sitting member of the Court.
I cannot imagine how the name of Associate Justice Consuelo Yñares Santiago came up. I never mentioned her name. Neither did I know that the staff officer – Cecilia Munoz Delis – worked for her. A source told me that she did but the lady justice fired her.
Then Cecilia executed an affidavit on Sept. 24 which states, among other things, “I am executing this affidavit to allow Justice Consuelo Yñares Santiago to defend her honor before she is actually named in the articles of Mr. Macasaet that have been appearing daily at the Malaya newspaper since Sept. 18, 2007.”
What would Justice Santiago defend herself from? I did not identify her. I just reported that a lady justice took a bribe and expressed the wish that an investigation be conducted. I thought that the Court would find it its duty to find out the identity of this lady justice
Cecilia Munoz Delis named her. So court spokesman Midas Marquez who told Newsbreak online, presumably on behalf of Justice Santiago – that Ms. Delis had been fired. The word used was “terminated.”
In an earlier letter to me on Sept. 21, Ms. Delis said she voluntarily resigned. I got confused when she mentioned in the same letter that “the fact that you corrected your information today (Sept. 21) regarding the date of my termination of my employment does not cure the defect in your time line.”
In the second paragraph of the same letter she declared that “I was an employee of the Supreme Court until my voluntary resignation on March 15, 2007.” Did Cecilia resign or were her services terminated? Marquez said she was terminated. Cecilia said she resigned but also stated “the date of termination of my employment.”
The lady must be identified!
I dared Cecilia to divulge everything she knew about alleged five gift-wrapped boxes. I reported that she opened the fifth believing that it contained perishable goods but found money instead.
Neither the letter to me which is not sworn to nor the affidavit denies that Cecilia opened the fifth box which I reported contained money. I supposed that is inferred in her statement “the attempted bribery never occurred while I was a judicial staff officer of the PET (Presidential Electoral Tribunal).
Of course, she cannot know whether or not there was bribery after she left. There was none when she was at work.
Newsbreak online which identified the lady justice as Consuelo Ynares Santiago reported a source privy to the discussion (presumably among the magistrates), it is (my columns) unfair especially to the lady justices.”
I agree it is unfair because all of the five lady justices have become suspects. It is precisely for that reason that I thought the identity of one who allegedly took a bribe be established.
Helping the Court
I quote Newsbreak as saying that a former Supreme Court justice said “it (presumably an investigation) will strengthen the institution and the Supreme Court will overcome this. But it will depend on what the Court will do.”
Newsbreak Online continued: “(But) there is a brewing constitutional issue. The Supreme Court has power to discipline appellate court justices but not its own. It is Congress which has the power to impeach justices. It is a Constitutional issue.”
Newsbreak further reported, quoting “a lawyer with access to the Supreme Court”: “Should the Supreme Court or Congress investigate?”