MANILA -- Lawyer Romulo Macalintal urged Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali to stop “terrorizing” the Supreme Court magistrates with harassment suits in the form of impeach threats.
Macalintal warned “complainants in a baseless harassment suit against magistrates may be liable for damages, and may be penalized for contempt of court. Moreover, if said complainants are lawyers, they may be disbarred from the practice of law.”
He said the threats are actually political in nature, rather than legal and constitutional, since Umali keeps on referring to the election case of a party-mate as well as to issues involving his political party such as the pork scam.
“While I understand that Umali’s position in several cases varies from the decisions of the Supreme Court, he must maintain respect to the Court, and remember that he is a politician who does not view issues objectively or with the ‘cold neutrality of an impartial judge,” Macalintal said.
He said Umali’s actions are supposedly veiled attempts to manipulate the judiciary.
“We must not forget that one of the basic foundations of our democracy is the independence of each branch of government, such that one department cannot impose control over the other. The last thing that this country needs is a judiciary that is at the administration’s gunpoint; that is afraid to displease the administration,” he said.
“Once that happens, our country will be a failed state as there will be no respect for the rule of law. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that we protect the judiciary’s independence against any form of political pressure,” he added.