SC punishes MTC judge for FB post re: Sereno ouster

[1] The Supreme Court granted the Solicitor General's petition for quo warranto against then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
[2] This decision ousted her as Chief Justice of the Philippines.
[3] Law students, law professors and lawyers have expressed their disagreement, pointing out that impeachment is the only way to ouster a sitting Member of the Supreme Court.
[4] Recently, the Supreme Court has ordered the suspension of Pangasinan municipal trial court (MTC) Judge Gerely Rico-Cruz over posts on her personal Facebook account strongly denouncing the SC for its quo warranto decision last May that ousted Sereno.

[5] THIS IS HER POST: “Yaman rin lang wala ng Rule of Law at pinatay na ang Judicial Independence, isara na rin natin ang mga korte! Wala na kaming silbi nyan! (Since there is no more rule of law and judicial independence is now dead, let’s just shut down the courts! We are useless already!) How can people trust us now? We’ve lost all credibility!”

[6] HERE'S ANOTHER POST FROM THE JUDGE: “Paano ba magpa-refund ng tuition saka mga nagastos ko sa libro nung nag-aaral ako ng law? T*** ina! Nasayang lahat ng panahon at pera ko sa pag-aaral ng law eh eto lang pala ang mapapala natin! (How do I get a refund of my expenses in law school? Son of a b**ch! I wasted time and money to study law and this is all we get!).” (All translations provided by the STAR)

SOURCE: Punay (2018). SC suspends judge for Facebook post on ouster of Sereno. Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - November 22, 2018 - 12:00am Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/11/22/1870692/sc-suspends-judge-facebook-post-ouster-sereno

PHOTO LINKED FROM: https://media.philstar.com/images/articles/gen6-gerely-rico-cruz-facebook_2018-11-21_22-57-02.jpg

THE SUPREME COURT IN ONE CASE: Courts and judges are not sacrosanct. They should and expect critical evaluation of their performance. For like the executive and the legislative branches, the judiciary is rooted in the soil of democratic society, nourished by the periodic appraisal of the citizens whom it is expected to serve.

Well-recognized therefore is the right of a lawyer, both as an officer of the court and as a citizen, to criticize in properly respectful terms and through legitimate channels the acts of courts and judges.xxx

Hence, as a citizen and as officer of the court, a lawyer is expected not only to exercise the right, but also to consider it his duty to avail of such right. No law may abridge this right. Nor is he "professionally answerable for a scrutiny into the official conduct of the judges, which would not expose him to legal animadversion as a citizen." xxx

But it is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the one hand, and abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on the other. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of respect to courts. It is such a misconduct that subjects a lawyer to disciplinary action. (G.R. No. 174759. September 7, 2011)

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