MANILA - A lawyer on Monday called on Supreme Court public information office chief Theodore Te to step down over a social media post on the day that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted by her colleagues.
Te tweeted "I Dissent" last May 11 as Sereno's peers granted a quo warranto petition invalidating her appointment for alleged failure to declare her wealth in full.
Te's post was disrespectful to the Supreme Court, said Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, counsel for advocacy group Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
“Si Atty. Te, kung siya ay nagdi-dissent ay dapat mag-resign na rin siya kung hindi siya kaisa sa diwa ng Korte Suprema. He has no business being the spokesperson of the Supreme Court," Topacio told reporters.
(Atty. Te should resign if he is not one with the spirit of the Supreme Court.)
"Spokesperson ka ng Supreme Court, sino ka para mag-dissent? Kahiya-hiya eh. You’re supposed to speak for the majority. You’re not supposed to interject your own opinion,” he added.
(You are the spokesperson of the Supreme Court, who are you to dissent? That's embarrassing.)
Topacio made the statement at the sidelines of the high court’s ‘Red Monday’ activity in support of the high court magistrates amid criticisms over the Sereno case ruling.
Te did not explicitly state that his post was related to the decision, and refused to comment on Topacio’s statement.
Topacio said Te should resign from his official function as an officer of the court before issuing his own opinions on any high court action or decision.
“Kung hindi niya kayang igalang yung naging [decision] ng Supreme Court, he should step down as Supreme Court spokesperson. Sumama na siya doon sa amo niya, kay Chief Justice Sereno. Kasi nagtu-tweet siya, sinabi niya , 'I Dissent,' siya ay spokesperson ng Korte Suprema, hindi ng Chief Justice, hindi ng minority ng Korte Suprema," the lawyer said.
(If he cannot respect the decision of the Supreme Court, he should step down as its spokesperson; he should join his boss, Chief Justice Serene. When he tweeted, he said, 'I Dissent' He is the spokesperon of the Supreme Court, not of the the Chief Justice nor of the Supreme Court minority.)
“If you cannot abide by the decision of the institution that you’re supposed to speak for you should resign; you have no business there. Konting delicadeza, pañero.”
Te joined the SC when Sereno assumed the Chief Justice post in August 2012. He was a colleague and ally of Sereno at the University of the Philippines College of Law.
Though not officially designated as SC spokesman, Te has been speaking on behalf of the high court on decisions and other official announcements.