Beloved Members of the Court of Appeals Family:
A time honored adage goes, “Ours is a rule of law, not a rule of men”. Perforce,
pursuant to it, our primeval purpose is to uphold and respect the rule of law as members of the
second highest court of the land.
Over the past month or two, few of our colleagues figured in a celebrated
harrowing controversy that caught the attention of our entire nation. The events have tremendously
wounded us, and our beloved Court, and the Judiciary as a whole, not to mention, the personal lives
of some of our loved ones who were helplessly dragged into the controversy. We were disparaged,
humiliated, called names and judged even before the investigation was concluded and a final
decision handed out. After the initial decision of the Supreme Court was known, there were those
who came out at the top of their lungs telling us what we should do, as if they have first-hand
information about what really transpired.
But that is now history.
Let me once more reiterate my utmost gratitude to all the people who have
expressed their support for me, my fellow Justices and our beloved Court of Appeals in those trying
times. They were extremely instrumental in helping us weather the storm.
Enough has been heard, seen and read about the episode. Nonetheless, the
experience that we went through provides us with a very good occasion for a positive commitment
to the future, and a common avowal of the destiny we all must share as members of this institution.
Now is the time for an honest and genuine reconciliation, mend differences caused by the conflict
and move forward towards the goals of our Covenant.
To attain these objectives, true reconciliation must come from the hearts and
minds of each and every member of the Court of Appeals family, in the respect we have for our
differences, in the attitudes we encourage in our respective staff, and in the recognition of the
common purpose that we all share – to dispense justice with honor, independence and integrity.
Besides, reconciliation process cannot be blind. We must be realistic in acknowledging
some of the obstacles to overcome along the way to reach and achieve our objectives. First:
Reconciliation will not work if it is premised solely on a sense of self-centeredness, materialism and
personal interests. Rather we should focus our energies on the very reason why we are all here.
Belonging to this institution is a public service, not a business. Second: Neither will the
reconciliation process work effectively if one of its core purposes becomes the establishment of
different standards of accountability and lawful conduct among us on the basis of personal
circumstances. Honesty, as well as integrity, has only one standard and that, my beloved family
members of the Court, is what we should all adhere to. And third: What inspires the
process of reconciliation, and what gives it its enduring strength, is the steadfast conviction that we
can, and must develop our future together with a unifying commitment to promoting the Court’s
interests. We must bind together and be one in this endeavor. It is of utmost importance that we
integrate and remain strong in these trying times and in the days to come. Reconciliation will only
work efficiently if it involves and stimulates all of us.
Guided by the Covenant we have recently signed, coupled with a sincere desire of
reconciliation, we can proclaim victory over our detractors. We can earnestly say, they have failed
to destroy the dignity of our institution. As a bastion of democracy, we remained unwavering and
unshaken in upholding and respecting the rule of law by accepting and submitting ourselves to the
very same system which we endeavor to espouse day in and day out.
However, I am certain there will still be disgruntled parties or interests out there
who will continue to come at us and try to destroy the reputation of some personalities of our Court.
Yet, with everybody’s strong conviction, we will be ready to defend our Court, its integrity and
reputation. We should not be cowed and discouraged. In our endeavor to dispense justice through
law, God will always be with us.
Finally, on a personal note, the day the Supreme Court decision was released, my
son wrote a poem, which I now share with you. The poem is an expression of his sentiments, and
that of the rest of my family, resolute in the belief that one day, in Almighty God’s Providence, this
beloved country of ours will be the nation we dream of handing down to our children and our
Panahon ay masungit
Umiiyak ang langit
Sa atin ay ipinasapit
Mistulang pinatay na
Upang maisaayos ang hudikatura
May natitira pa ba?
Masama bang maging mabuti?
Isipin ang ikabubuti ng nakararami?
Panginoon sa akin po’y ipaintindi
Bago isipan ko’y maging marumi
Akin pong ipinapanalangin
At nawa ako’y dinggin
Isipan ko po’y pagliwanagin
Bago maligaw ng landasin
Lagi po ninyong gabayan
Itong aming bayan
Lalo na ang mga nanunungkulan
Sa lahat ng sangay ng pamahalaan
Mga isip po nila ay bigyang linaw
Nang matigil na ang gawang ligaw
Gawin sana nilang Ikaw
Maging kanilang tanglaw
Umaasa pa rin ako Panginoon
Mga dalangin nami’y may tugon
Na darating din ang panahon
Pilipinas ay makakaahon.
So take courage. With God’s unceasing help, WE SHALL OVERCOME.
Mabuhay ang Court of Appeals!