Lotilla differs with Sereno on SC's silent policy

Posted at 10/25/12 5:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla does not totally agree with the "dignified silence" policy of the Supreme Court (SC) under the leadership of its new Chief Justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Interviewed by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Thursday as one of the candidates to the Associate Justice post vacated following Sereno's appointment as chief magistrate, Lotilla said the high court is duty-bound to educate the public about decisions it renders even as he agreed that a magistrate should be read based on decisions he or she penned.

“The teaching function of the court, may also require, at some level, the public, especially the media may need some guidelines on how the decision impacts the rights of individuals,” he said.

Lotilla said that during his stint as energy chief during the Arroyo administration, even members of the media covering the sector for years needed briefings regarding policies and initiatives of the department.

“In the executive, even with a very well trained Energy beat and business beat, these are technical people with several years of continuity covering the office, nevertheless, there are points that one would need to explain to them the significant points in a decision," he said.

"I think [the dignified silence policy] does not mean the court will withdraw from the positive aspects of teaching the public and explaining its role and functions as well as its decisions,” he said.

Days after her appointment on Aug. 24, Sereno announced that the high court would be taking a "dignified silence" stance, meaning, its decisions should speak for the high tribunal. Regular press conferences are no longer held to explain resolutions and decisions, and Sereno has declined all requests for sit-down and impromptu media interviews.