Seeing and Believing: Examining the Relationship Between Exposure/Publicity and Judicial Legitimacy in the Philippine Democratic Framework

The Philippine Judiciary’s approach to publicity has always been a measured one, focused on insulation, with judges taking a back seat to the elected branches in the public sphere. A recent shift however, has occurred. Due to political events, including removal of Justices, and the judiciary’s legitimizing role in a populist administration’s more controversial actions, many Supreme Court Justices willingly made their sides known and placed themselves under public scrutiny. This Paper tackles the Philippine Judiciary’s reaction to increased scrutiny and publicity and the connected challenges to its legitimacy, as it became inextricably linked to that of the current administration. What is the value of publicity for maintaining or restoring institutional integrity – and for whom? Is publicity a legitimate opportunity for the Judiciary? Or should we treat judges as having no choice in reacting to renewed engagement from citizens seeking new avenues of scrutiny and accountability?