Sereno’s removal explained through ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’

May 14, 2018 - 6:07 PM
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno speaks before University of Baguio Law students and members of Baguio's legal community. PHIL. STAR/ Andy G. Zapanta Jr.

While the removal of Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has sparked legal debates throughout the country, it has also left some scratching their heads.

A Reddit post, which went viral on Twitter last Saturday, attempted to explain the Supreme Court’s ruling to remove a chief magistrate from office in layman’s terms by comparing it to the fictional world of Narnia created by C.S. Lewis.

This post, which was circulated by Twitter user Korte Supremo, featured a response of a Reddit user from a thread that seemed to challenge the online community on how to explain the landmark decision last Friday to a five-year-old child and why is it a “bad thing.”

The comment received positive feedback both on Twitter and on Reddit, but not all were amused.

The Deeper Magic of Narnia and the 1987 Constitution

The Reddit user “scheme_milk” who claimed to be a lawyer, likened the 1987 Constitution to the “Deeper Magic” of Narnia.

“The Philippines, like most countries, have this primary law called the Constitution. Think of it like the Deeper Magic in Narnia. Just like how even the most powerful magic can never go against the Deeper Magic, all other laws must always follow the Constitution,” the user said.

In Lewis’ story, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the Deeper Magic or Deep Magic is the set of ancient laws that govern all magical creatures in the fictional world of Narnia.

scheme_milk broke down the specific powers the Constitution gave to the three branches of government, and noted that to keep them in check, only through the “very difficult process” of impeachment can the duly-elected heads of these branches be removed.

“If the Constitution says that a person can only be removed by impeachment, a new law can’t let you remove a person in other ways. This is a very basic legal principle drilled into the heads of every lawyer since the start of law school,” scheme_milk said.

The Reddit user described the quo warranto petition, which was used to invalidate Sereno from her position, as “a very low form of law” that the current justices of SC allowed to challenge the Constitution.

“The scary part is that now, it’s obvious that SC is not as independent and unbiased as was expected of them by the Constitution. It just violated one of its most fundamental reasons for its existence,” scheme_milk pointed out.

The high court divided

In a ruling of 8-6, majority of the justices voted to oust Sereno in a special en banc session on May 11 through the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Marvic Leonen, two of the six justices who voted against Calida’s plea and SC spokesman Theodore Te were among the first inside the Supreme Court who made public of their dissenting views to the ruling.

The eight justices who voted in favor of ousting Sereno are Associate Justices Noel Tijam, Teresita De Castro, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires, Andres Reyes Jr. and Alexander Gesmundo.