Dispatch from Crame No. 108: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’ threat to file impeachment case vs. Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno


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Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez must be drunk from all the power he wields if we are to go by his recent statements about Court of Appeals Justices, the Chief Justice and even the postponement of Barangay Elections.

Typical of the so-called “leadership” style of this administration, when faced with opposition, his reaction was to lash out, curse and threaten the CA Justices with disbarment, the Chief Justice with impeachment, and even threaten the entire judiciary with the dissolution of the CA—all because a Division of the CA performed its duty by unanimously finding merit in a petition for habeas corpus. Last time I checked, that’s a subject for a motion for reconsideration and, thereafter, appeal—not an opportunity to flex one’s ego and political clout.

For that is what this is: a show of political power. He is certainly not purporting to hold that much power by himself: instead, this is Alvarez throwing the weight of his borrowed influence as a henchman of a more powerful patron.

That is where he gets the gumption to threaten the Chief Justice of the Philippines with impeachment.

That is also where he gets the bloated confidence to announce the postponement of the Barangay Elections and that barangay officials will, instead, be appointed, as if such are already writ in stone simply upon his say-so.

His statements are not just galling to hear, but also very disturbing. They are a manifestation of a grave threat to the Rule of Law and our democratic way of life, for they are geared towards making key institutions and officials vulnerable to undue threats and, ultimately, malleable to the whims and tantrums of bullies and dictators, whose capacity for conflict resolution ranges from inflicting ad hominem attacks, to doing their utmost to ruin the life and career of those who disagree with them.

That is their obvious endgame.

I can only hope that members of the Judiciary, as well as my fellow lawmakers in both Houses of Congress, will find the willpower to continue resisting such threats. I would be the first to say that it isn’t an easy task. But it is possible because those who resist will also wield their own brand of power—the power of knowing that we are defending our people by doing what is right.

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