Critics urged to respect Supreme Court ruling on chief justice appointment
By Paolo Romero
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Newly appointed Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raoul Victorino urged opposition members and critics of the Supreme Court decision allowing President Arroyo to appoint the next chief justice to respect the ruling.
Victorino, a former member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) that screens appointees to the judiciary, said the SC is the final arbiter and interpreter of the Constitution.
“Everybody must respect the decision of the highest court of the land,” he said.
Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar earlier chided those planning to stage protest actions against the SC decision, saying “they think they are better than the Supreme Court over constitutional issues.”
“What is worrisome about these kinds of movements is that they are slowly destroying the credibility and public perception of institutions like the Supreme Court,” Olivar said.
“Just because they didn’t have their way, they think they have the monopoly of truth and justice,” he said.
Palace officials, however, also said it was confident that attempts to agitate the people over the controversial decision would not lead to instability.
Deputy presidential spokesman Charito Planas also called on critics of the administration to bring their case to court instead of the streets as in the end, it would be still the SC that would resolve the matter.
“The members of the opposition do nothing but oppose so there will be no end to that,” Planas said in Filipino. “We should follow the rule of law. If we will not follow the Supreme Court, there will be trouble.”
Meanwhile, lawyer-members of the Baguio and Benguet chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines “stormed” the Supreme Court in Baguio City yesterday to express outrage against “any midnight appointment” of the next Chief Justice.
Bearing placards and streamers denouncing any move to outskirt Constitutional stop gaps against appointment of the Chief Justice in 60 days before the end of the President’s term, lawyers brought with them a “wreath worthy for the dead” to symbolize the death of the integrity of the Supreme Court. – With Artemio Dumlao