Just how long will newly-appointed Philippine Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno be able to maintain her trademark smile over the next 18 years she will be serving her post? The stresses of the job are piling on, which does not bode well for Sereno who, according to the supposed findings of a psychological evaluation allegedly leaked to the media, is described with the following words…
â€œ[…] dramatic and emotional, she appears energetic and all smiles and agreeable, but with religious preoccupation in almost all significant aspects of her life. She projects a happy mood but has depressive markers too. There is a strong tendency to make decisions based on current mood thus, outcome is highly subjective and self-righteous.â€
If there is anything that could most effectively trigger a mood of depression in anyone it is being snubbed. Being snubbed is a distressing experience and we are all conditioned and trained from an early age to put up emotional defenses whenever we are slighted in that way. Unfortunately for Sereno, being subject to snubbing has become a way of life for her since she was appointed to head the High Court by President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III. The most recent incidence of this nasty form of personal affront was reported today by ABS-CBN News as one that “even junior justices” possibly consciously participated in. According to the report, Sereno found herself “by her lonesome” in Monday’s SC flag-raising ceremony…
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By far, this was the most dismal attendance by the court en banc since Sereno’s appointment, seen by many as an outspoken protest to the assumption to the highest judicial post of one of the most junior justices and regarded by some as an ‘outsider’ even during her two-year stint as Associate Justice.
With a term spanning 18 years, the second longest in the history of the high court, Sereno has doused the hopes of the 13 other sitting justices to become Chief Justice someday.
The beleaguered Sereno was, instead, forced to seek validation for her existence amongst “a small group of students from St. Scholastica Manila’s Communication Society [who] came to express their support for her and the high court”.
This, of course, does not replace validation coming from one’s peers in their chosen profession. Studies have shown that snubbing and shunning is a form of bullying that can be observed even in the social fabric of ape colonies in the wild. Often, the males of the species employ direct and aggressive methods to initimidate and assert dominance over other males, while females are more inclined to apply indirect and underhanded methods to assert social status. Snubbing and shunning falls under the latter and as such, females who are the more probable and vulnerable victims — and perpetrators — of this method of bullying presumably are the more sensitive to it.
What seems to be a concerted effort to put pressure on Sereno by her peers (allegedly, of course) possibly stems from her being perceived to be a queue-jumper owing to her being one of the most junior of the SC justices. Indeed, the ABS-CBN News report continues, “With a term spanning 18 years, the second longest in the history of the high court, Sereno has doused the hopes of the 13 other sitting justices to become Chief Justice someday.”
Another way to see it is that Sereno is merely just another ironic victim of President BS Aquino’s gross mismanagement of MalacaÃ±ang’s relationship with the judiciary. The fraying of this relationship was likely to be the cumulative effects of the childish temper tantrum thown by BS Aquino over being sworn in as President by former Chief Justice Renato Corona back in 2010, the various acts of defiance against court orders issued by the SC by his Cabinet members, and the farcical impeachment of Corona in the first half of 2012.
Unfortunately for Sereno, she is the latest field commander pushed into what is starting to look like an unwinnable battle by a President who seemingly remains focused on his singular mission — to secure the family jewels of the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan. Assuming these are all true, BS Aquino could not have chosen a worse agent than the allegedly psychological stability-challenged Sereno. For that matter, it seems Aquino is not having such a peachy time himself carrying out these marching orders.
Recall that “elderly members of the Cojuangco clan” reportedly berated President BS Aquino over the possible loss of Hacienda Luisita to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)…
â€œFrom the time of (President Ramon) Magsasay, the hacienda land was never lost. When Martial Law came, we still did not lose our land. GMA (Gloria Arroyo) and Cory had a fight during GMAâ€™s presidency, we Cojuangcos still did not lose our land. Now that that you (Noynoy) are president, we lose the hacienda!â€, the Tribune source quoted an elderly Cojuangco as he berated Aquino in the vernacular.
â€œYou are the reason for our loss of the hacienda, because even the Supreme Court you had to fight with!,â€ the elderly Cojuangco was further quoted as telling the President.
Sereno is certainly not going through some of the best times of her life right now. Shunning is often used as a pejorative term to describe any organizationally mandated disassociation, and has acquired a connotation of abuse and relational aggression. This is due to the sometimes extreme damage caused by its disruption to normal relationships between individuals, such as friendships and family relations. Disruption of established relationships certainly causes pain, which is at least an unintended consequence of the practices described here, though it may also in many cases be an intended, coercive consequence. This pain, especially when seen as unjustly inflicted, can have secondary general psychological effects on self-worth and self-confidence, trust and trustworthiness, and can, as with other types of trauma, impair psychological function.
What happens then if this hyppothetically concerted pressure being put on Sereno yields results — results such as impaired psychological function?
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.
[NB: Parts of this article were lifted from the Wikipedia.org article â€œShunningâ€ in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that governs usage of content made available in this site.]
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.