Is Roan Libarios speaking for the IBP or for high court? | Inquirer Opinion

Is Roan Libarios speaking for the IBP or for high court?

/ 10:05 PM January 02, 2012

The president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), lawyer Roan Libarios, sounded like the new spokesperson for Chief Justice Renato Corona when he commented on what he thought were wrong with the articles of impeachment submitted by the House of Representatives to the Senate. Libarios feared that the impeachment would destroy the autonomy of the Judiciary.

We would grant that the IBP president is sincere. But, certainly, that he speaks for the whole IBP is debatable, to say the least. He describes the complaint against the Chief Justice as crafted with “despicable haste and arbitrariness,” as reported by Amando Doronila, Inquirer’s consistent critic of President Aquino. Libarios and the IBP board seem to be competing in erudition with an Arroyo lawyer when they accuse the House of violating the “constitutional guarantee of separation of powers and judicial independence.” (Inquirer, 12/22/11)

The watch-list order (WLO) issued by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the TRO issued by the Supreme Court on the WLO were controversial. The legal situation has divided the public and the legal community. It has even made Inquirer’s columnists appear disputing with one another.

So how could Libarios pretend to have the entire membership of the IBP—the largest association of lawyers in the country—speak with one voice against the impeachment? Apparently, the lack of consensus has caused prestigious legal groups, like the Philconsa as a proper guardian of the Charter, to judiciously refrain from embroiling themselves in the controversy. Has Libarios been specifically authorized, in a special referendum, for instance, by the various IBP chapters nationwide to articulate and aggressively pursue in the media, including advertisements, a position directly assailing that of 188 lawmakers of the House and the president of the Republic?


While Libarios is telling us that the Judiciary should not be unwisely attacked—a courageous and laudable act—he should be cautioned also not to allow the IBP to be unduly dragged into entangling legal adventures, which could sow dissension within it and tarnish the integrity of the men and women running it.

Dissenting, another legal group, the Philippine Bar Association (PBA), views the impeachment against Corona “as the constitutionally ordained process which epitomizes the Rule of Law at work,” and pleads to let this process “not be undermined by any quarter.” (Inquirer, 12/23/11)


retired ambassador,

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TAGS: corona impeachment, IBP, judiciary, letters

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