MANILA- Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Wednesday called on government officials to support, not weaken, institutions to promote democracy and economic growth.
“When it comes to building institutions, all government leaders must ensure that they support, not weaken institutions. Institutions build a nation, strong institutions enable nations to prosper,” Sereno said in her keynote address during the 55th Philippine Economic Society Annual Meeting and Conference held at the Novotel Hotel in Quezon City.
The chief magistrate's words come at the heels of an impeachment complaint filed against her and amid President Rodrigo Duterte's call for her to resign along with him.
Sereno said support for the country's rule of law is not only beneficial to the country's democracy but also engenders an environment conducive to economic growth.
“We can only ensure protection of the rights of every citizen, including those in the business community, if we have a judiciary that is truly independent and strong,” she said.
Despite the ouster attempts against her, Sereno assured that the judiciary under her helm will continue to ensure that confidence in the justice system will be built up.
“We have worked hard from day one to restore this confidence, and we are relentlessly working on it,” she said.
Sereno added that given the proliferation of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” there is a need to make the public believe again in public institutions that the judicial reform programs were rooted.
“The Rule of Law carried out by strong justice institutions undergirds economic development. The Rule of Law is not only essential for defending basic political and human rights but is also essential to achieve fair and broad-based economic prosperity,” Sereno said.
The chief justice also emphasized the importance of what she called “economy of good words” or “words that build up, rather than tear down.”
“Words that elevate the level of discourse in a nation, words that allow people to hope, to look forward to a country that they can be proud of—a country where truth, justice, fairness, and righteousness abound,” she said.
“A country where one can hear words of kindness, compassion, empathy for those who have little, but a country also made strong and firm by honesty and integrity.”