Manila Marquez: An effective influence

The Philippine Supreme Court faces more blowback over the impeachment attempt against the Arroyo-appointed Ombudsman. Several justices are facing impeachment threats from Congress, although thus far it involves more bluster than bludgeoning. However, what really struck me in Supreme Court spokesman Marquez’ recent comments, as reported by PhilStar, was how he characterized the impeachment process as a threat to judicial independence. Here are a few quotes:

“There appears to be concerted efforts to bring the court down,” SC spokesman Midas Marquez told reporters.

“Filing of impeachment against our justices will have to be studied very carefully. It is an effective attempt to influence future decisions of the court,” he lamented.

While impeachment has rarely been used in the U.S., several Filipino justices have faced impeachment attempts, including former Chief Justice Davide over his swearing in Arroyo. Indeed, that impeachment attempt took a toll on the court, but part of me is surprised Marquez admitted as much. Perhaps his comments were a preemptive strike attempting to portray the impeachment proceedings threats against sitting justices as threats to the rule of law rather than attempts to punish bad behavior (such as the recent plagiarism allegations, lobbying on behalf of plaintiffs, etc.).

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