ARROYO APPOINTED CHIEF JUSTICE MAY FUEL FURTHER INSTABILITY AMIDST FEARS OF FAILURE OF ELECTIONS: Bayan Muna asks JBC not to submit list to Malcanang
BAYAN MUNA Party List, alarmed by the decision of the Judicial Bar Council (JBC) to submit its list of nominees to Pres. Gloria Arroyo and give her the luxury of appointing the next Supreme Court Chief Justice, urgently asks the JBC to reconsider its decision. Bayan Muna is afraid of a major upheaval if Pres. Arroyo appoints the next chief justice instead of allowing the new president to appoint the replacement of Chief Justice Reynato Puno.
“Should failure of elections happen, it will be difficult for the people to follow a decision favorable to Pres. Arroyo issued by a Supreme Court under an Arroyo appointed Chief Justice” said Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino. “Whether true or not, the Chief Justice will be perceived as beholden to Pres. Arroyo. A presidential appointment by Arroyo is a kiss of death”. Bayan Muna believes that Associate Justice Renato Corona will be appointed and Pres. Arroyo is just pretending to go through the motions. “There is no chance that the other justices will get selected. Justice Corona who was the Presidential Legal Counsel is the closest to the President. It will be a tough life for Justice Corona”, added Rep. Casino.
“There is no reason why Pres. Arroyo should rush the appointment of a Chief Justice. A collegial body like the Supreme Court has survived without a chief justice before. The only reason why she is moving heaven and earth to appoint one is because she intends to have a friendly Supreme Court once plunder cases are filed against her” said Bayan Muna Representative Neri Javier Colmenares.
Bayan Muna previously filed a House Bill 7109 entitled “An Act Prohibiting the President from Making Appointments to Judicial Positions, including that of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, During the Period Provided Under Section 15 Article VII of the Constitution and for Other Purposes” with the hope of precisely preventing this dangerous situation for the Court. Pres. Arroyo’s majority in the House however made sure that the bill will not pass. The bill provides that in case of a vacancy in the office of Chief Justice during the period when the President is prohibited from appointing the Chief Justice, the most senior Associate Justice shall act as Interim Chief Justice until another Chief Justice is appointed by the incoming President. This procedure is in fact already provided under Republic Act 296 or the Judiciary Act of 1948.
Bayan Muna whose two nominees. Atty. Neri Colmenares and Atty. Joven Laura are human rights lawyers in the Visayas and Bicol regions respectively, urges the JBC not to submit its list to Malacanang. “Pres. Arroyo may still be forced not to appoint a chief justice if the people will show outrage over this brazen lack of delicadeza. We hope, however, that the JBC will not to submit the list to Pres. Arroyo as planned since Pres. Arroyo does not know the word delicadeza” concluded Rep. Colmenares.###