- Published on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 00:00
- Written by AMADO P. MACASAET
By A Web design Company
‘It is abundantly clear that President Aquino wants De Lima to be Chief Justice for her personal loyalty to him.’
PEOPLE have long noted that President Aquino is headstrong on matters that he believes would promote his “matuwid na daan.” That is variously translated that while he may not be considered the most intelligent Chief Executive this country ever had, he has a big heart, a heart that will carry him and this country through the campaign to stamp out corruption and restore the true meaning of democracy.
As he plods along, he is unconsciously revealing his real self. He might have lost his capacity to listen. And even if does, the target-shooting buddies, including Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, he brought with him to Malacañang, hardly have the competence or capacity to tell him the straight and narrow path to good governance.
How did it happen that at the time when his popularity rating is slowly coming down, he committed a mistake that will sink his acceptance by his people all the more? And he appears by what he has done that he is just as headstrong about it.
We do not know much about this lawyer Ed de Mesa, chief presidential legal counsel. We know less about his capacity or courage to tell the President about the legality or lack of legality of his moves.
We can say the same of Paquito Ochoa, executive secretary and former administrator of Quezon City, but most of all a constant target-shooting partner.
Ochoa and De Mesa are supposed to be the legal minds of the President. Maybe they do not have the mind or the President does not listen to them.
Otherwise, the President would not plunge himself into this abyss of bulldozing his way through the use of influence which, exercised by the Chief Executive, is variously interpreted as coercion, to make sure that De Lima is appointed chief justice to replace Renato Corona.
It is his undisguised desire to have a Head Magistrate loyal to him, not necessarily to the Constitution and the laws that should bother all of us. Clearly, it is for this reason that the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, may not oblige President Aquino in his request, interpreted as pressure, to quash the disbarment and immorality
complaints against the Mrs. De Lima he clearly wants to install as Chief Justice obviously for no other reason but personal loyalty to him.
This “loyalty” has no place in a nominee whose reputation is clouded with doubts about her fitness as a lawyer that brought her a disbarment case and her morality questioned by at least two complainants.
The complaints must be investigated by the IBP. Only a thorough investigation may clear or doom her. Yet without the investigation being completed, the President is said to have made a “personal request” to have Mrs. De Lima’s name included in the shortlist that the JBC will soon submit to the President.
In this sense, the President made himself the JBC. He wants De Lima’s name in the list because he will appoint her as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. This fits to a T the ponencia of Supreme Court Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin that, as in the case of the appointment of Renato Corona, the President can pick a Head Magistrate without necessarily picking one from a list submitted by the JBC.
The difference is the President is exerting influence or pressure or “personal request” to have Mrs. De Lima’s name in the list. In effect, the President is drawing up the list and making sure that his favored candidate is included. Otherwise, he would not try to have the IBP accept Mrs. De Lima’s memorandum for reconsideration.
President Aquino has transgressed his Constitutional right to appoint the Chief Justice. He has abused the right by insisting on picking a secretary of justice who by law is an extension of the President’s office.
The presumption is a cabinet member who is appointed as Chief Justice becomes completely independent of anybody including his family. But how can that presumption be held valid when the cabinet official has a cloud of doubt hovering over her head and yet the President appears bent on appointing her.
We cursed Gloria Arroyo for appointing Corona as Chief Justice and majority of the Court who will retire long after he retires. Well, Mrs. De Lima will reach retirement age long after President Aquino steps down.
To make sure President Aquino is safe from the Court with De Lima as Chief Justice? If this argument was valid for Corona and Mrs. Arroyo, it should similarly be valid for Aquino and De Lima.
It must be stressed, however, that there has been no tinge of corruption in the Aquino government in the past two years. However, there are “other crimes” that De Lima can shield President Aquino from.
Naked violation of the Constitution made law when the Supreme Court so ruled as in the appointment of Corona during a period prohibited by the Constitution is a worse crime that thievery or corruption.
Robbing the people of their legal rights is worse than taking away food from their mouths.
We are not saying that this can happen in the Aquino administration with De Lima as Chief Justice.
We are merely suspecting that an opening would have been made. It is abundantly clear that President Aquino wants De Lima to be Chief Justice for her personal loyalty to him.
It is just as clear that the President would set aside the cloud of doubt over De Lima’s head in exchange for her presumed personal loyalty.
What did we accomplish for democracy in convicting Renato Corona?