Friday, April 23, 2010

It’s final: High court rules Arroyo may appoint new CJ


BAGUIO CITY—Ruling with finality, the Supreme Court Tuesday reiterated that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may appoint the successor of Chief Justice Reynato Puno, and that the high court was exempt from the election ban covering midnight appointments.

Supreme Court Administrator Midas Marquez said the justices denied the motion for reconsideration filed by 17 petitioners and intervenors against the tribunal’s March 17 ruling that authorized Ms Arroyo to appoint the next Chief Justice during election season.

(Click on the title for the full article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

My take:

Why is the President, who is on her way out, so hell bent to appoint the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, despite the protests from almost all fronts? Could it be because she has the only the interests of the nation in keeping the balance between the three branches of the government, thus leaving behind a legacy of stable government? But her 9 year in office had shown that the interest of the nation is almost at the bottom of her priorities whenever she make monumental decisions. ZTE, fertilizer scam, road users tax, etc. There were just too many to mention them all. So what is this all about?

Except for the Chief Justice, all justices are now Arroyo appointees. So what is the significance of this? Well, from my pulis point of view, Arroyo is not stepping down on June 30. All indicators point to her holding on to power. She had consolidated the armed forces with the appointment of her "mistahs" in key positions. She need not force Versoza to quit his post as Chief PNP because she knows that the key PNP force, NCRPO is under her loyal general, another Class 78 in Director Rosales. That said, all she has to mind now is a Supreme Court that will uphold the legitimacy of her actions, whatever she does next, much like the way the Supreme Court upheld her legitimacy during EDSA II.

So what are these options?

She can manipulate the correct agencies to declare a failure of elections. In this case, she holds on to power by force and the AFP can invoke tha they, being the "protector of the people," concurs with her. If the Supreme Court upholds this, then Noynoy Aquino can kiss his presidential ambitions goodbye.

She can orchestrate the military to declare a coup-de-etat and grab power for a "junta." Being a member of Class 78, she has a good shot of squeezong herself in the inner circle, thus perpetuating her power. Or the military, after declaring a coup, goes into the drama of returning the power to the civil authorities--namely gloria Arroyo because there is no legitimately elected president because of the coup.

Another option is that, as a member of the House of Representatives, she can manipulate the House into convening and declaring a caretaker head of government. This is possible if there will be a partial failure of election wherein the counting of votes for the national candidates will not be finished on time. At this juncture, there is no President, Vice President, and Senate President. As such the legitimate successor based on the law is the Speaker of the House. If she does this, then she will only need the concurrence of the Chief Justice to complete her hold to power.

In the worst case scenario, Arroyo needs the Chief Justice to declare Gibo Teodoro the winner. This is a very real possibility and she is already laying the ground work with the filing of Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal on April 5 of a petition asking the Supreme Court to abolish the presidential electoral tribunal (PET) and declare the body as unconstitutional. Click on this link to read the news article in Yahoo. In a nutshell, the petition asks the Supreme Court to stop convening itself as a Presidential Electoral Tribunal and simply leave everything to the Chief Justice. The petition is so brazen and its sinister purpose so obvious, that the Office of the Solicitor General, led by the now infamous Alberto Agra, despite all his frailties and schemes in the Ampatuan case, had already made its stand objecting to the petition.

So the pattern is established at this point. Arroyo is hell bent in making sure that the Chief Justice is hers. This is to ensure that the SC will uphold the legitimacy of her next move to hold on to power. Then she can do anything and everything.

If she can legitimize her manicurist in the Pag-ibig board and her gardener as Deputy of the Luneta park Administration, then she can legitimize herself as the hold over President of Republic of the Philippines.

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