Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide and trial court judges of Negros Occidental called on employees of the judiciary to maintain their neutrality and avoid involving themselves in the "political fray."
In a statement released Monday, Davide expressed alarm over what is happening at the Supreme Court.
"There are quarters who have expressed and continue to express alarm over different aspects of the impeachment proceedings at the House of Representatives, as well as of the latest move to remove her by way of a quo warranto case filed in the Supreme Court which will be resolved by members who have shown their biases against the Chief Justice, and long after the prescriptive period to do so had lapsed pursuant to the Rules of Court. For my part as retired Chief Justice, I am equally alarmed," he said.
He also cited how the judiciary is becoming politicized.
"I wish to express my deep and profound concern over the apparent politicization of the Judiciary. I refer particularly to recent calls from certain justices and court employees for the Chief Justice to resign immediately and not await for the results of the impeachment process, or even the quo warranto case," Davide said.
"The call is far worse than the impeachment and the quo warranto," he added.
Davide also called on judges and employees of the judiciary to respect the rights of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
"As one who had worked hard to preserve the independence of the Judiciary, I call on the judges and employees of the Judiciary to respect the rights of the Chief Justice to fairness, justice, due process and the rule of law. I fully agree with her appeal that all members and employees of the Judiciary should not involve themselves in the political fray," he said.
Meanwhile, members of the Negros Occidental Regional Trial Court Association (NORTCJA) also called on the employees of judiciary to stay neutral amid the controversy.
"The officers and members of the Negros Occidental Regional Trial Court Association (NORTCJA) are saddened by the recent pronouncements from some court personnel, employees’ associations and unions calling for the resignation of the Chief Justice. As an organization, we value consensus-building and this matter has been discussed among our members. The consensus is clear: WE ARE AND SHOULD BE NEUTRAL," the group said.
"We do not wish to be part of the issues besetting the Supreme Court and its personnel as our priority is to keep the courts open and to serve our people. We are not politicians. We do not have the luxury of publicly expressing our sentiments, unless prompted by the situation. This is one of those times that our voices need to be heard," the group added.
"We call for sobriety and prudence. We ask our fellow judges to remember our oath to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law; to be impartial and reserve judgment until all evidence have been presented; to be non-partisan and let due process take its course. WE STAND FOR AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY," the group said.
Judges, officials, and rank-and-file employees of the judiciary on Monday backed calls for embattled Sereno to resign from her post amid impeachment proceedings against her in the House of Representatives.
The resignation call, dubbed ‘Panawagan sa Pagbibitiw,’ was made by the Philippine Judges Association (PJA); Philippine Association of Court Employees (PACE), the umbrella organization of all court employees nationwide; Supreme Court Employees Association (SCEA); Supreme Court Assembly of Lawyer Employees (SCALE), the separate organization of lawyers employed at the SC; and, the Sandiganbayan Employees Association (SEA).
In a speech at a forum in the University of the Philippines - Diliman, Sereno again stood her ground against calls for her resignation, saying she wants to air her side in the impeachment process.
"I do not make choices in life on the basis of the easier option but [on] what is the right thing to do. And without the slightest doubt, the right thing to do is to fight this impeachment to the end," she said.