August 6, 2009
Independent Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan says that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s appointment of Appeals Court Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo as Supreme Court Justice after the Judicial Bar and Council refused her request to add names to its shortlist of six nominees raises red flags.
“His appointment raises legal questions, and is therefore under a cloud of doubt coming as it does after the lapse of 90 days as required by the Constitution. Is an appointment undertaken beyond the 90 day period valid and legal? Can the President therefore, in the next four vacancies, decide to ignore the 90 day requirement? What will prevent this President or future presidents from delaying the filling up of vacancies beyond the 90 days? These questions need to be raised and answered considering there are four more vacancies are to be filled up in the next four months.”
Pangilinan also questions the technicality of the dates that cover the process from Malacanang’s return of the JBC list to the appointment.
“This appears to be an antedated appointment, considering the written reply of the JBC to the Ermita letter was dated August 3–or beyond the 90 day period. An antedated appointment, if true, is of doubtful legality.”