WITH AN EARLY RETIREE, HE’D HAVE HIS SIXTH JUSTICE

In his last months in office, Aquino still gets to pack the Supreme Court

17

Benigno Aquino 3rd has got to be this nation’s most unscrupulous and hypocritical President ever, one who doesn’t respect the country’s institutions, especially the judiciary.
Relegated to the inside pages of newspapers has been his last, really scandalous, moves at the twilight of his term to increase his control over the Supreme Court, a move which could even determine the eligibility of Grace Poe-Llamanzares to run for President.

Advertisements

In 2011, Aquino undertook an unprecedented campaign to remove the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, Renato Corona, from office on grounds that he would be an obstacle in prosecuting his predecessor, President Arroyo. But that was just a smokescreen for his real motive: to arm-twist the Court to rule that compensation for his clan’s Hacienda Luisita would be a humongous P5 billion, instead of the P196 million which the Court had appeared to believe was fair and just.

“Mission accomplished, boss?” Aquino, the political operator Llamas, and Justice Martin Villarama,  the “operated?”

“Mission accomplished, boss?” Aquino, the political operator Llamas, and Justice Martin Villarama,  the “operated?”

It was, in fact, his very first appointee to the Court, Maria Lourdes Sereno, whom he would later appoint Chief Justice as Corona’s replacement, who had written the voluminous dissenting opinion – which, I surmise, was presented to the Court – that argued in detail for the Cojuangcos to be given the P5 billion compensation for their Hacienda Luisita.

Aquino’s other flimsy excuse was that Arroyo shouldn’t have appointed Corona as Chief Justice to replace Reynato Puno, who was due to retire on May 17, 2010, or seven days after the May 10 elections. Aquino claimed that since he was sure to win the presidency, he should be appointing the new Chief Justice (and the appointment of the Chief Justice is covered by a ban on any appointments to the Court made during the last two months before the election). Cases were filed in the Supreme Court on this matter.

The Court, by an overwhelming majority, threw the petition out, ruling that the two-month ban doesn’t include the appointment of a Chief Justice among the justices. It cited Section 4 of Article V, which requires the President to appoint a Chief Justice within 90 days from the retirement of the incumbent. Arroyo did, five days before Puno stepped down.

Talk of karma. As things would turn out, Aquino found himself in a roughly similar position as Arroyo was in.

Associate Justice Martin Villarama, Jr. was supposed to retire on April 14, 2016, when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70, or just a few weeks before the May 2016 polls.
Aquino should be stepping down June 1st, and the two-month ban before the elections prevents him from appointing Villarama’s replacement.

But then Aquino is Mr. Double Standard. What he hated and criticized Arroyo for having done – which was to appoint the Chief Justice weeks before she stepped down – he would be doing in the case of Villarama, to appoint his replacement.

However, Aquino is so much unlike Arroyo, who had declared that the Supreme Court itself should decide the matter and issue a ruling if she could or could not appoint the next Chief Justice.

According to my sources and that of our ace reporter, Jomar Canlas, who reported this way back in May 2014, Aquino, instead, got Villarama to agree to retire not in April this year when he reaches the 70 retirement age but much earlier, next week, on January 16.

Next week would be more than two months before the May elections, so that Aquino would have the authority to appoint Villarama’s replacement. In his letter to the Court, Villarama cited his “deteriorating health condition” for his early retirement.

Carrot and stick

Sources have claimed it was a carrot-and-stick approach that made Villarama retire months before reaching the retirement age, which is unprecedented in the fact that it got the other Supreme Court justices nodding their heads. That was another shameless attempt by this President to control the judiciary.

The mission of convincing Villarama to retire was allegedly given to Aquino’s political adviser (of pirated-DVD and AK-47 fame) Ronaldo Llamas. His success in doing so gained brownie points for Llamas, even as he had been identified as former President Joseph Estrada’s mole in the Palace.

Villarama’s retirement would allow Aquino to appoint his sixth Justice in the 15-man High Court, a move that would, as legal academics term it, “pack the Court.”

Aquino’s power to appoint Supreme Court justices has been alleged to be his carrot in getting judges at higher courts and the Sandiganbayan to follow his wishes. Aquino, though, has been viewed as a “double-crosser” as might well be proven by the fact his recent appointees to the court – peace negotiator Marvic Leonen and Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza did not come from the judiciary.

Among those nominated to replace Villarama is former Commission on Audit Chair Maria Grace Pulido-Tan, who had not made public the COA’s special audit on pork-barrel during Aquino’s first years in office, failing to deliver on her promise.

Other nominees are the following, who had served as judges in cases involving President Arroyo, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla, Jr., and other opposition politicians: Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Alex Quiroz, Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr., Court of Appeals Associate Justices Stephen Cruz, Rosmari Carandang, Apolinario Bruselas Jr. and Mariflor Castillo, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang and Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Cristina Cornejo.

If the six Aquino-appointed Justices choose to please Aquino in crucial cases at the Supreme Court, the President would require just two more Justices to stand behind him, or for just three to inhibit themselves, or call in sick.

Villarama may have just given Aquino the power to determine whether presidential candidate Grace Poe is qualified to run for president in 2016, or whether Aquino’s most hated person in the world, former President Arroyo, finally gains her freedom soon.
Another institution damaged by this deranged President.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com

Share.
loading...
Loading...

Please follow our commenting guidelines.

17 Comments

  1. I salute you Mr. Ambassador RT Sir, specially your SEVEN LAST WORDS….You express my anguish of having this NO CONSCIENCE and without balls president to let PGMA rot in her hospital jail until now, when, on the other hand she herself gave PJE an executive clemency in her term. Btw, I campaigned for Ping Lacson in 2004.

  2. Kaya mag-ingat lang po tayo kabayan sa pagpili sa mga mamamahala sa ating bansa at mamamayang Filipinos. We are not getting any younger. We cannot afford to always go through the same shit all over again. We must stop electing unfit government officials. We must choose excellent leaders and team players that can fully unite our country and the Filipinos for building our nation and for us, Filipinos, to win the future.

    We must obey and follow strictly our Constitution and the laws of the land. Nobody must be allowed to become untouchable and above the law. Nararapat lamang na maparusahan ang mga lumalabag sa batas. We must not allow anybody to commit crimes with impunity. St. Padre Pio said , “Where there is no obedience, there is no virtue; where there is no virtue, there is no good; where there is no good, there is no love; where there is no love, there is no God; where there is no God, there is no paradise.” Amen.

    Calling all our honest and trustworthy leaders and protectors of our Constitution. Are you still out there to serve and protect our country and its people? Please HELP!!!! SOS!!!!

    Kung gusto mo ng pagbabago, simulan sa sarili mo. Maging matalino sa pagboto.

  3. Somebody who wants to become a justice of the Supreme Court said that BS Aquino should not be sued for the unconstitutional DAP. Maliwanag na sipsip to the bone and sinabi niya para appoint siya ni BS Aquino sa Supreme Court. Expected na kasi na idedemanda si BS Aquino pagbaba niya sa trono ng kapangyarihan kaya kailangan niya ng mga suporta sa Supreme Court. That is the main reason why he is telling something that BS Aquino wants to hear so that he will have a better chance to be appointed. Ginagamit ang kaniyang katungkulan sa gobierno para makatawag pansin. In essence, he had already pre-judged the expected case that will be filed against Aquino. Isn’t that a conflict of interests?

    DAP was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Clearly means that BS Aquino administration has done something unconstitutional. If he will be sued because of DAP, alam na natin na favorable kay BS Aquino ang kaniyang magiging decision, di po ba? Ngayon pa lang ay kampi na siya sa unconstitutional act di mas lalo na pag isa na siya sa mga juctices of the Supreme Court?

    Di ba dapat ang pangulo at Supreme Court justices ay kasama sa mga protectors of the Constitution? Papaano sila magiging protectors of the Constitution kung paglalaruan naman nila ang Saligang Batas at mga batas ng bansa? Papaano sila magiging protectors of the Constitution kung unconstitutional naman ang pinaggagawa nila? Isip isip pa more pag may time. Dapat ay tignan at subaybayan nating maigi kung ano ang mga pinaggagawa nila sa ating bansa at mamamayang Filipinos, di po ba? Kahit labag sa batas o salungat sa Saligang Batas ang ginagawa,tatahimik na lang ba tayo kabayan? Manonood na lang ba tayo ng telenovela para kilig pa more? Huwag naman po sana.

    Calling all honest and trustworthy leaders and protectors of our Constitution, are you still out there to serve and protect our country and its people? Please HELP!!! SOS!!!

  4. laguatanlawzen.com on

    Villarama, if he is true to his conviction and fear of God, can ignore ABNOY’s bullying and too much pressure to retire early so that he can pack the SC with another Yellow-minded Justice just so he can exercise complete control, with the end in view of helping Grace Llamanzares legally declared as “natural born Filipino.” Should Villarama ignore ABNOY’s pressure for his early retirement, he can do so and his prerogative is legally feasible. If Villarama give in to ABnoy’s pressure, then the game is over.(This is my first commentary-NOT duplicate)

  5. laguatanlawzen.com on

    Villarama, if he is true to his conviction and fear of God, can ignore ABNOY’s bullying and too much pressure to retire early so that he can pack the SC with another Yellow-minded Justice just so he can exercise complete control, with the end in view of helping Grace Llamanzares legally declared as “natural born Filipino.” Should Villarama ignore ABNOY’s pressure for his early retirement, he can do so and his prerogative is legally feasible. If Villarama give in to ABnoy’s pressure, then the game is over.

  6. Amnata Pundit on

    Ang dilaw na salot na ito ay nagsimula nung Plaza Miranda bombing na ibinintang nila Ninoy Aquino kay Marcos. Ito ang naglihis ng landas ng ating pulitika at kasaysayan. Ang pulitika nawala sa normal, ang kasaysayan nabaon sa kasinungalingan. Kung hindi nangyari ang Plaza Miranda, hindi nag-martial law, hindi nakulong si Ninoy, hindi siya naging “bayani,” at hindi naging presidente ang kanyang asawa at anak. Napunta na tayo sa bulok na landas na ito magmula ng mga kalaban ni Marcos ( kasama na ang mga kasamahan ng NPA) ang humawak ng gobyerno. Puro na pangloloko ang nangyayari ngayon, sa election man o sa surveys pati na Rule of Law daw at sa paghawak sa kaban ng bayan gaya ng pork barrel. Para mapurga ng bayan ang dilaw na salot na ito, kailangan malaman ng lahat ng taong bayan ang lahat ng katotohanan, simula sa Plaza Miranda bombing, ang ating sariling 9/11, “the bombing that changed the course of history.” Why are these yellows who are now in power not reminding people about Plaza Miranda when their hero Ninoy said it was then President Marcos who masterminded it? Don’t these yellows just love to remind the world what an evil man Marcos was? Are they hiding something? Kung hindi natin mapurga ang mga dilaw na ito, tuloy tuloy yan hangang mawasak ang mahal nating bayan.

  7. Samuel Santos on

    “Benigno Aquino 3rd has got to be this nation’s most unscrupulous and hypocritical President ever,” . . . what a legacy, indeed!

  8. Surely, Justice Martin will bequeath a legacy to the Filipino people – he will change his mind and retire at a later date. Just as he double-crossed Gloria, benigno will have his comeuppance.

  9. Edgar G. Festin on

    I know from your columns that you don’t give a damn for religion and prayer. Still I am asking your readers to pray that the PNOY-appointed Justices are people of conscience and moral adherence to their oath. Or if they are not such kind of people now that they get converted and serve the true ends of Justice and the rule of Law and the Constitution.
    God bless us Filipinos and the Supreme Court as a whole and the justices individually.

  10. hope justice villarama will change his mind and recall his retirement and retire instead on april 14, 2016 inorder to save his beloved institution – the Supreme Court, and the filipino people. thanks for the very analytical article mr tiglao!

    • Leodegardo Pruna on

      I completely agree with you. But P-Noy who is aptly described by Amb. Tiglao would insist on his wish using the money of government to pay Justice Villarama. I hope that at his age and his conscience that he thinks of his eternal future than his earthly ones. God bless the Philippines.

    • Leodegardo Pruna on

      May Justice Villarama come to terms and recover his senses and conscience and not allow the devil of all devils, we know who, to bring him to damnation. God bless the Philippines.

  11. Aquino was wrong on Corona’s appointment in 2010. But with the 2 month ban on appointments before the May 9 election , Aquino has up to March 8 to appoint a replacement for justice Villarama.. GMA appointed Corona before Puno retired, So what’s wrong if Aquino appoints Villarama’s replacement before March 9, 2016.

    The vacancy happened on Aquino’s watch. If he does not appoint a replacement, people will say it’s negligence. Note that he can not just pick any of his buddies. He must be recommended bu the Judicial Board.

    REPLY
    “Aquino was wrong on Corona’s appointment in 2010.” Maybe you mean impeachment. Aquono bribed congressmen and senators to make sure that Corona got impeached then convicted.

  12. That Aquino move to force Justice Villarama before reaching 70 years of age is Mafia-like. He made him an offer he could not refuse.

  13. The correct phrase “PNoy is a deranged president,” yet the foolish and silly electorates have not even seen it a bit when they voted for him. Since July 2010, a lunatic man have been running the show in government.

  14. AJ Villarama Jr’s.s earlier retirement will define his integrity as a seasoned jurist. He will be a privy to a political strategy involving the ‘manipulations’ of the sitting president to the ‘detriment’ of the principle of separation of powers and check and balance of the branches of the government. I hope AJ Villarama, Jr. will not tarnish his honorable service by accepting the offer to enable this president ‘dip’ his hands in the SC again.