Thursday, December 9, 2010

Aquino slams Supreme Court Decision

If you don't agree with the decision, does it make the decision political? But if you liked the decision, does it make it impartial? Aquino is already blasting the Supreme Court as biased against him to prepare the public when they make a decision regarding the Hacienda Luisita issue. There is a big chance that the decision will be against him. When it happens, he will claim that the SC has been against him all along because GMA stacked it with cronies. 

Aquino slams SC decision 

Don’t stand in my way, he warns ‘blind, deaf’
By Norman Bordadora, Marlon Ramos, Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Filed Under: Benigno Aquino III, Judiciary (system of justice),Government, Graft & Corruption, Politics

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III, reacting sharply to a Supreme Court rebuke, Wednesday night slammed “those pretending” to be deaf and blind, and warned he would not allow them to get in the way of his campaign against corruption.
In a nationally televised address, Mr. Aquino said that he would persist until damage to Filipinos had been rectified, declaring that “while I am here, I wouldn’t allow that Filipinos would be oppressed.”
The Arroyo administration, he said, is not like other past regimes and should not be treated as such, reacting to the court’s 10-5 ruling that former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s rights are guaranteed against the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
“How can we treat an administration that served for almost two terms the same? If you are an administration that went beyond what is expected under the law, then you are indeed different from the rest,” the President said minutes after getting a copy of the court decision whose salient points were announced by a spokesperson on Tuesday.
“I ask those who are pretending to be blind and passing themselves off as deaf, please don’t stand in the way of my task,” Mr. Aquino said.
Asked what he planned to do next, he said that it seemed to him that the next best step was to amend the executive order creating the Philippine Truth Commission.
He said he would not allow Arroyo to become “untouchable” because that would be a sad day for Filipinos.
Thank you gift
Solicitor General Anselmo Cadiz earlier Wednesday denounced the decision as nothing more than “a payment of gratitude” by justices appointed by Arroyo.
Visibly upset, he called on the magistrates to put behind them the Filipino trait of pasasalamat for the “future of our nation … children and grandchildren.”
“The justices are just humans who value relationships… and gratitude. But I’m asking them to rise above this because our accountability is to the people, not just to one person,” Cadiz said at a newsconference.
The solicitor general said the court ruling was consistent with the tribunal’s past decisions, which seemed to “protect” Arroyo from corruption charges during her nine-year tenure in Malacañang.
“This is a sad day for the country because the Supreme Court prevented President Aquino from pursuing his promise to the people that he would prosecute the corruption committed by the past administration,” he said.
Abuses protected
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said in a one-page statement titled, “Equal protection is protecting the many from abuses of the few,” that the court ruling was a “setback in the campaign against graft and corruption.”
“The investments of the past administration in the Office of the Ombudsman and the high court are now paying off, as present executive actions to correct injustices and abuses of the past regime and to punish the perpetrators are frustrated at every turn, not for lack of effort on the part of the present administration, but because of wise institutional investments of the past regime,” she said.
Equal protection
“The voting by the members of the court on politicalquestions, namely, on actions of the Aquino administration against the past administration, readily shows that the lines which now divide decision-making in the court are principally political and no longer doctrinal,” she said.
De Lima stressed that “equal protection applies within a class, not between a few who stole and abused, and the many from whom they stole and whom they abused.”
She noted that while the Constitution prevents the appointment of Supreme Court justices by only one Chief Executive, a “loophole” in the Constitution “prevailed” that enabled Arroyo to pack the high tribunal with her appointees.
This included the position of the Chief Justice “despite the ban on appointments, itself also declared legal along the same familiar lines of voting which have now become only too familiar,” she said.
“This is the evil which the Constitution intended to avoid, but which now appears to be rearing its head at the cost of frustrating the administration of justice on the abuses of the past,” De Lima said.
Right is right
Asked for comment, Chief Justice Renato Corona toldreporters, “You read the decision and then you tell me if it’s political or not.”
He said he was not hurt by criticisms, saying “personal feelings do not matter” in his job.
Asked if he could give an assurance that the tribunal had become an Arroyo rubber stamp, Corona said: “The only assurance I can give is that right is right and wrong is wrong and right will always be right and wrong will always be wrong.”
Defiant truth commission members, in a two-hour emergency meeting in Malacañang, Wednesday vowed to carry out their mandate.
“This gave us greater courage and determination to pursue our goal,” said former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., the commission chair.
Pointing out that the solicitor general was appealing the court ruling, Davide said the panel would continue to exist until a final decision was handed down.
‘Everyone’s wondering’
Davide said he did not see any infirmity or ambiguity in Mr. Aquino’s Executive Order No. 1 and lamented that the decision might have destroyed a very important pillar of the Aquino administration in the fight against graft and corruption.
“We encourage the public to continue submitting complaints,” Commissioner Carlos Medina later told the Inquirer. “We are disappointed but it is clear that this latest development will not deter us in our campaign to go after people involved in massive cases of graft and corruption.”
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Solicitor General Cadiz attended the meeting which agreed to file a motion for reconsideration of the court ruling.
In the meeting, Medina said he and other commissioners expressed surprise with the manner by which the high tribunal made public its decision.
Medina said he and other commissioners were wondering why the Supreme Court decided to leak the decision even before a ruling could be written.
“Everyone’s wondering,” he said. “This is one issue which answer only the Supreme Court knows.”
Political court
Cebu Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Meinrado Paredes said the decision showed that the high tribunal had become a “political Supreme Court.”
“We have to defend the institution,” Paredes said, “because it is the last bulwark of democracy,” adding that “it was like they were covering the truth.”
“Maybe, it’s payback time for the justices of the Supreme Court who were appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” Paredes said.
“It’s possible they will reprimand me but I have to explain. I cannot suppress my own right by not also telling the truth and giving my honest opinion.” With reports from Christian V. Esguerra, Christine O. Avendaño and Jhunnex Napallacan, Inquirer Visayas

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