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Debasing the CJ post

Monday, June 25, 2012

Debasing the CJ post

Written by  Herman Tiu Laurel
Monday, 25 June 2012

From the noisy media circus atmospherics the past two weeks surrounding the scramble of Cabinet-member wannabes and outsiders for the Judiciary’s top post, to the buzz on whether or not these nominees’ Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) interviews should be televised, down to the paparazzi fervor with which these prospective candidates are being introduced to the public, all efforts in finding a replacement for ousted Chief Justice (CJ) Renato Corona ultimately bring up one question: Isn’t this a debasement, a trivialization, of what in the past was considered a rarefied post, along with the essential attributes of detachment and transcendence that the candidates — not just for the Supreme Court (SC) but for the Judiciary as a whole — are supposed to possess?

Thus, it was with a sense of disbelief that I witnessed the likes of the country’s chief tax collector showing off her wares in a cable news interview and of law deans and professors parading themselves to catch media attention, like in a burlesque show. It really is a sad spectacle; and sadder still when you think of how low it speaks of the ruling powers’ regard for the Judiciary.

One CJ qualification raised by Malacañang spokesman Edwin Lacierda, in obvious support of 51-year-old Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Chief Kim Henares, was on the matter of age.  He told Palace reporters that since “age is not a factor,” a CJ candidate does not have to be old.  What did he mean by that?
First of all, being 40 is not necessarily “young” to the younger set. Despite that, 50 can now be the “new 40” and 60 the “new 50.” Moreover, someone who is 60 can even conceivably be 40 in many respects since it is now widely believed that the mind determines the age. Therefore, someone at age 51 who is crabby, myopic, tyrannical and oppressive can really be an 81-year-old Mubarak in mental state. Got that, Lacierda?

Well, perhaps to buttress his argument, Lacierda also cited the case of US Federal Supreme Court CJ John Roberts, who, upon assuming his post at age 50, serves as an example of a young person appointed to the zenith of the Judiciary. What he failed to note, however, was whether or not this young appointee indeed had a sterling record of public service to begin with.

Objections were already raised about Roberts’ pro-right, anti-abortion leanings that allegedly triggered some violence by extremist groups prior to his appointment. Then, in his five years at the helm, a number of major, yet unsettling, changes came about under his leadership, which led retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to lament, among other things, Roberts’ reversal of her major contribution to US jurisprudence of imposing spending limits on political campaigns.

So besides the 40-year-old age requirement for Philippine CJs, should there be any room for petty ageism? Moreover, given the importance of the CJ’s position, have we ever had any in-depth, ideological, or jurisprudential discussion on issues relating to the CJ’s appointment?

Sadly, it has always been the case of the Chief Executive and his spokesmen, the Legislature, and the media being at the forefront of providing leading, albeit shallow and mediocre, questions in whatever discussions, with politicians, media, relatives, friends of JBC members, or law fraternities holding sway on a personal or parochial basis.

Such a debased (or debasing) process of naming, vetting and appointing the next CJ clearly creates worse conditions for any nominee, as he will no longer be unaffected; will likely feel obliged to respond to private and public parties to which he may feel indebted; or will fear chastisement if he displeases one or the other source of support for his appointment.

We must therefore take a second look at the serendipitous findings of lawyers Alan Paguia and Homobono Adaza in reviewing Article VIII Section 9 on the Judiciary: That there is no constitutional basis for the nomination by the JBC and the President’s appointment of the CJ.

Given the fundamental principles upon which our nation’s democratic system is supposedly founded (namely, the separation-of-powers, checks-and-balances, the independence of the Judiciary) and taking heed of the caveat from an old adage that says “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” we must end the practice of appointing a CJ from outside the SC once and for all in order to enhance the high court’s independence and detachment and for it to focus purely on the interpretation and execution of the Constitution and all its laws.
It is for this reason that Paguia, Adaza, Jojo Borja, myself, and several others will be filing a petition before the SC this Thursday on the issue.

Our thanks thus go to citizens Ric Palompon of Manila, Editha of Batangas, Bonifacio from the South, Romeo Lopez, Olive of Bulacan, Mrs. Villanueva of Mandaluyong, Mrs. Borja of Iligan, and Glen of QC for sending in donations for the filing fee and photocopying. To the few donors who have not sent in their names, we wish to thank them as well.  Because of your generosity, I believe we will have enough by the date of filing. Mabuhay to all the conscientious and pro-active citizens who are continuing to support our cause!

(Tune in to 1098AM, dwAD, Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 5 to 6 p.m.; watch Destiny Cable GNN’s HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11:15 p.m.; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives).

(May Pahintulot ng Pamamahagi)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/commentary?start=9

‘US anti-terrorism policy violates human rights’ – Jimmy Carter

‘US anti-terrorism policy violates human rights’ – Jimmy Carter

Former US president Jimmy Carter has criticized America’s actions against terrorism, saying that drones attacks and targeted assassination of suspicious people are undermining America’s “role as the global champion of human rights.”

­In his critical article "A Cruel and Unusual Record" published in the New York Times, Jimmy Carter said that with all the revolutions sweeping around the world, America should “make the world safer.” Instead, however, “America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends,” he argues. 

US’s government counterterrorism policies, Carter says, are now clearly violating at least 10 of the 30 articles written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights..... MORE

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/carter-article-us-drones-677/

Turkey's downed jet: NATO action in disguise?

Turkey's downed jet: NATO action in disguise?

Turkey is pushing NATO to regard Syria's recent downing of a Turkish jet as an attack on the alliance. NATO is gathering to discuss the incident, while some see parallels with the events that preceded NATO’s campaign in Libya.

­Turkey insists that its unarmed RF-4E reconnaissance jet was shot down in international airspace on Friday while testing a domestic radar system. The country’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc also said Monday that Syrian forces had opened ground fire on a search and rescue plane shortly after the first jet was downed.

Turkey has also requested that NATO hold a meeting under Article 4 of the alliance's treaty, which allows a NATO member to request a consultation if it feels a threat to its territorial integrity or security. The meeting is due to take place on Tuesday. The alliance will consider classifying the Friday incident as an armed attack under Article 5, which states that an attack against one NATO member shall be considered an attack against all NATO members..... MORE


URL: http://www.rt.com/news/turkish-plane-nato-syria-725/

547,000 victims

547,000 victims

To learned obser-vers, it is not so much the news that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has shifted $1 biliion of its $77 billion reserves from bonds or other financial instruments lodged with its accredited fund managers to an interest bearing account called the “firewall fund” administered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that is the problem. That shift, not a lending, is not really as gross and threatening as some sectors would like the public to believe. It is in fact a prudent and, yes, a beneficial move as part of our commitment to the stability of global financial markets. Rather, it is the report that the BSP has presided over the collapse of 41 banks in the last 18 months alone putting the monies of 547,000 depositors in extreme jeopardy, which has raised alarm bells in these parts.

Coming as it did with the 49th anniversary of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) and the celebration of “Depositor Protection Week,” this piece of bad news has really sent shudders down the spine of millions of depositors whose hard-earned monies may just be lost in a jiffy resulting from what some observers have described as a disturbing trend of laxity in the BSP’s examination and supervisory functions as well as the inchoate if not conflicting rules and issuances made by it and its twin banking regulatory agency, the PDIC.

The unprecedented bank closures of more than two banks per month has prompted LPGMA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty to push a congressional inquiry on the reasons behind these closures and their impact on the communities and sectors they serve and the economy as a whole..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/commentary/item/684-547000-victims

Small lady at LTO strikes again

Small lady at LTO strikes again

The BS Aquino administration seems so fond of small ladies, whether fictitious or real. One such small lady was mentioned during the impeachment trial where a congressman alleged that some documents were handed to him by a small lady.

Another is a mysterious small lady who left some documents at the gate of another congressman in his Loyola Heights home. Now another small lady that figured out in a very high profile controversy is the small lady of the Land Transportation Office (LTO), and mind you, this small lady is not fictitious, she is for real and she’s got big plans but most have gained notoriety in our current day to day life. She’s none other than the best friend and shooting buddy of his Excellency BS Aquino, Ms. Virginia Torres.

Charlie Manalo of the Tribune called her, the most controversial official. If we recall, Ms Torres got involved in illegall and forcible takeover the facilities of Stradcom, a company owned by Mr. Cesar Quiambao. Torres tried to help the Sumbilla group, a group claiming ownership of Stradcom to forcibly open the offices of Quiambao’s Stradcom and  entered its premises aided by LTO security forces. For this notorious act, Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Leila de Lima recommended the filing of both administrative and criminal cases and dismissal of Torres from government service..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/commentary?start=18

One dead as Chinese ship sinks RP boat near shoal


The first physical encounter between Chinese and Philippine vessels amid a tense naval standoff over conflicting territorial claims of both countries happened last June 18, or a day after President Aquino ordered the pullout of Philippine ships from the disputed Scarborough Shoal, in an incident where a Chinese vessel rammed a local fishing boat near the shoal, killing one and leaving four others missing.

Office of Civil Defense chief Benito Ramos described the ramming as accidental but Posio Balmores, captain of the motorized fishing boat AXL John, said their seacraft was intentionally bumped.

Ramos, nevertheless, admitted that the suspected Chinese vessel did not stop to help the Filipino fishermen as seafaring protocol calls, raising suspicion that the incident was not accidental.

“It (foreign vessel) did not (stop) that’s why we are doubtful if it was accidental then they should have helped them (Filipino fishermen). They were recovered two days after by fellow Filipino fishermen,” Ramos said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/headlines/item/700-one-dead-as-chinese-ship-sinks-rp-boat-near-shoal

Carpio accuser produces witness to SC cover-up in Urban Bank case

Carpio accuser produces witness to SC cover-up in Urban Bank case

A lawyer, who was disbarred after accusing Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio of improprieties in handling a case involving the now defunct Urban Bank, has produced a key witness to back up his claim that there had been a cover-up.

The witness, former SC stenographer Fe Malou Castelo, who took notes of important proceedings in the high court for nine years lashed out at justices of the tribunal who, according to
her, erred in ordering the disbarment of the lawyer on “inadequate and insufficient” grounds.

In an affidavit dated May 25, 2012, Castelo, who was SC stenographer from 1997 to 2006, also backed claims by Magdaleno Peña that there was a “cover-up” in the complaints he filed against some justices and that the documents he submitted pertaining to an allegedly forged resolution issued in November 2002 by then First Division member Associate Justice Antonio Carpio were authentic.

“Throughout my tenure as a stenographer with the SC, I have never experienced an instance wherein any justice or division, or the en banc for that matter, changed the actions taken and agreed upon during the deliberations, without having the particular case called again,” Castelo said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/headlines/item/695-carpio-accuser-produces-witness-to-sc-cover-up-in-urban-bank-case

POEA blacklists 2 US recruitment firms

POEA blacklists 2 US recruitment firms

  • Written by 
  • Monday, 25 June 2012
Two US-based employment agencies were blacklisted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) for deceiving 24 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were promised jobs in hotels in Florida but were forced to work as farmers in Mississippi.

The POEA cancelled the recruitment license of US Opportunities and Royal Hospitality Services and the ZDrive Inc., both US-based employment services companies, for their failure to provide Filipino workers the jobs specified in their contracts.

POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac also ordered the exclusion of two US-based companies from participating in the government’s overseas employment program for contractual violation under the POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Land-based Overseas Workers..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/nation/item/691-poea-blacklists-2-us-recruitment-firms

RP ranked 6th by WB in gender equality

RP ranked 6th by WB in gender equality

President Aquino appears bent on naming more women to key positions in the Executive Department or the Judiciary where a selection process for the position of Chief Justice is in progress.

At a radio press briefing, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said the Aquino administration remained committed to the promotion of equality between men and women even as the Palace aide welcomed results of a World Bank (WB) study showing the Philippines ranking sixth out of 129 countries in gender equality..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/nation/item/692-rp-ranked-6th-by-wb-in-gender-equality

Alcala urges Finance chief to discipline Customs boss

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala is calling on Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima to ask Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon to make good on measures needed to curb smuggling of imported meats that erode the local industries of pork, poultry and other agricultural crops.

In a letter to Purisima dated June 13, Alcala followed up on the series of letter-requests he had made since April 10, asking among other things that the Bureau of Customs (BoC) provide the Department of Agriculture quarantine personnel with the Inward Foreign Manifest (IFM) “unfiltered on a real time basis.”

Alcala also asked Purisima on the status of BoC’s implementation on reference prices that he wanted imposed on imports starting May 11, 2012..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/metro-section/item/677-alcala-urges-finance-chief-to-discipline-customs-boss

Pasig PNP plan to release reporter’s assailant foiled

Plans of the Pasig City police to release “at cost” an arrested suspect believed to be one of the three assailants behind the slay try on The Daily Tribune reporter Fernan Angeles last March, was foiled when the journalist himself showed up at the Pasig PNP station to verify a text message saying the local drug ring’s designated hitman had just been picked up.

Angeles, who sustained permanent physical disabilities resulting from an ambush that saw him peppered with six bullets, assailed the anti-drug operatives of the Pasig PNP.

Angeles, who has resumed covering Malacañang Palace for The Tribune, recounted having seen how the Pasig PNP’s anti-drug operatives even accorded privilege to the suspect, one alias Junior Praning, who was allowed to use the mobile phone of an anti-drug police officer so he could contact anybody who could “bail him out instantly.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/metro-section/item/676-pasig-pnp-plan-to-release-reporter%E2%80%99s-assailant-foiled

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