- Published on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 00:00
- Written by AMADO P. MACASAET
By A Web design Company
‘There is clear wisdom in picking one who is already in the Court. It need not necessarily be Carpio. He is not salivating for it.’
Whoever forced, coerced or threatened former Chief Justice Reynato to retire – not really retire but resign -- before he reached 70 years in May 2010?
The effect of this act as the rape of the Constitutional prohibition against appointment to the judiciary 60 days before the national elections.
Mr. Puno was supposed to retire on May 17 2010, the day he became 70. He did not wait that long to leave the Court. But before he resigned, he convened the Judicial and Bar Council clearly to allow Gloria Arroyo to find the name of second most senior Associate Justice Renato Corona in the short list of nominees. She forthwith appointed Corona but not before the Supreme Court ruled that such appointment may be allowed during the prohibited period.
By his early retirement Chief Justice Puno forced the Supreme Court to violate the Constitution, a sad chapter in our judicial history which could not have happened had he retired on his birthday, a required by the law.
The other most important factor that directly relates to the willingness of Corona to accept a midnight appointment was his desire to accept the post. If he had any respect for the Constitution. Corona “could have declined the appointment and argue that honoring the Charter is the only duty of a member of the Court. The position of Chief Justice is a mere incident. It had to be obtained or given according to the Constitution, and not violating it.
Corona would have made a hero of himself by refusing the appointment. He could have told his peers that while their decision to violate the Constitution became part of the law of the land, he would not lend himself to the violation.
That was farthest from his mind. After all, Chief Justice Puno had already paved the way for his appointment. Gloria wanted it. Corona was bent on getting it.
The trio of Gloria Arroyo, Chief Justice Puno and Renato Corona had it all planned. The majority of the Supreme Court would rule as it did that Gloria Arroyo may make the appointment at a time when Benigno Aquino, the presidential candidate in the 2010 elections had clearly won the election.
The lame duck President Gloria Arroyo grabbed the powers of a newly elected President while he was waiting to be sworn in. The Supreme Court made a ruling allowing her to usurp that power.
Never has the Fundamental Law of the land been so blatantly violated. In fact, Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, the pontente of the case, practically abolished the Judicial and Bar Council when he declared that Gloria Arroyo may make an appointment to the Supreme Court without a nomination from the JBC.
Following that argument, Chief Justice Puno did not have to convene the JBC to select candidates for the position he would leave by resignation.
That declaration or ruling showed how determined Gloria Arroyo was in appointing her ward, Renato Corona.
Personally, I do not believe that Puno wanted to retire before his term expired.
There must have been irresistible considerations for leaving the Court before his time was up. Nobody except Puno and Mrs. Arroyo can shed light on this.
It is hard to fathom what was dangled to CJ Puno to resign. If he had resigned at the age of 70, after the May 10 national elections, the most senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio would have succeeded him in an acting capacity.
Carpio would not definitely convene the JBC since Benigno Aquino III had already won the elections.
A lame duck president cannot make an appointment. Gloria’s father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal was supported by the Supreme Court when he refused to recognize then Finance Secretary Dominador Aytona who was appointed by the lame duck President Carlos P. Garcia two days before Macapagal was to assume office as newly elected President.
Carpio and Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales had publicly declared that they too would love to become head of the Court but they would accept the appointment only from the newly elected president.
The statements supported their dissent against the ruling of Bersamin. They expressed their dissatisfaction over the usurpation of the authority of a lame duck president to appoint the Chief Justice.
Gloria, Puno and Corona had their way. However, in the end, justice triumphed when the impeachment court ousted Corona.
It should not matter to anyone, including the present members of the Court, who the President appoints to succeed Corona. The right to appoint exclusively his although there is clear wisdom in picking one who is already in the Court.
It need not necessarily be Carpio. He is not salivating for it.