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Legal but Immoral

Legal but immoral

Ronald Roy

​It is shocking that no less than the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) has given its imprimatur to Malacañang henchmen’s damnable position that their benefactress Gloria Arroyo has the power to appoint–without a recommendation from the Judicial Bar Council–the Chief Justice (CJ) of the Supreme Court (SC) in the last 90 days of her term.

This earth-shaking development—not that nobody did not expect it–has exacerbated the acrimony between the administration and the political opposition. It must then be seriously wondered why Philconsa has chosen to broaden further the fake President’s leeway for abuse of power, particularly of appointive privileges, which were never hers in the first place.

​Philconsa, a supposedly impartial organization tasked by its Charter to shed constitutional light on raging issues of national concern, has done just the opposite. Its so-called legal luminaries have mysteriously ceased to shine in today’s dark era of unprecedented corruption, where opinions can be bought. And it is ridiculous to suppose that they inadvertently failed to read Section 12 of the Judiciary Act (Republic Act 296 as amended) which renders their position untenable. They curiously insist that Arroyo’s appointment of a replacement on CJ Puno’s retirement is necessary to avoid an interregnum in the otherwise “normal functioning of governance”, given the “prevailing crucial and uncertain times”.

​Former Senate President Frank Drilon however points out that no such vacuum in the office of the CJ can occur, in view of the cited provision which states: “In case of a vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or of his inability to perform the duties and powers of his duties, they shall devolve upon the Associate Justice who is first in precedence, until such disability is removed, or another Chief Justice is appointed and duly qualified. This provision shall apply to every Associate Justice who succeeds to the Office of the Chief Justice.” I agree.

​Following the spirit of the Charter, Gloria Arroyo is prohibited from appointing Puno’s replacement because his retirement date falls within the election period, when midnight appointments are interdicted not only in the Executive Department, but also in the Judiciary. It’s a pity Philconsa appears incognizant of its own raison d’être, which is to defend and uphold the integrity of the Charter, by helping resolve constitutional crises in light of the paramount interests of the sovereign people, and not those of one evil woman and her gang.
Philconsa has failed to anticipate the repercussions of its treasonous stand, since even if its argument were technically correct, it would never escape a haunting fallout of public scorn and suspicion. Philconsa does not seem to see the immorality of its exhortation that the nation should trust this woman’s devious appointive schemes—a woman notoriously regarded as an inveterate cheat driven by a demented obsession to remain in power forever, and to make sure Renato Corona replaces Puno to keep her out of prison, should an unforeseen event befall her. *​* ** **
​Noynoy Aquino is being puerile in his frenzied campaign for votes by articulating over the tombs of his parents that he will not steal if elected President; not that I believe he will, because among the credentials of a candidate, honesty is a given. He is also being patronizing by making us feel like simpletons, hoping we might exclaim “Wow, you’re not going to steal? Yehey, you’ve got our votes!”

​Incidentally, while I empathize with Noynoy in his disdain of an Arroyo appointment of a CJ replacement, he betrayed an immature preparedness for the Presidency when he announced he would not recognize a new SC Chief Justice appointed by the outgoing bogus President. Well, Noynoy should be taught that in our system of laws there is a judicial recourse (Quo Warranto) for the removal of the occupant of an office.
​Likewise indicative of Noynoy’s decline on the ladder of front runners is his petition asking the Comelec to disqualify KBL presidential bet Vetallano Acosta as a nuisance candidate, allegedly because Acosta’s name will alphabetically come ahead of his surname, which is Aquino. I beg to share with his handlers this unsolicited thought: Their ward will commit less boners with less gab. But if it is they who are accountable for his gaffes, God forbid his Presidency if he takes them into his Cabinet.

​Anyway, I find worrisome the tendency of students to be swayed by the youthful looks and articulation displayed by some candidates at the hustings. One likewise notes that these campaigners probably think that speaking at a clip faster than others should give them the edge in decisiveness and astuteness.

He fails to note, however, that some of the world’s finest thinkers have come from the ranks of slow, deliberate speakers like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Sir Winston Churchill and Elpidio Quirino. Expect the drawling Joseph E. Estrada, sparkling with wit and brimming with confidence, to join this select group in May—barring undemocratic events.

(Email: arnydolor@yahoo.com, cell # 09186449517, landline # 7106701)

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