January 24, 2010
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan supports Fr. Joaquin Bernas’ statement that the Supreme Court would undermine itself should it let PGMA appoint the next Chief Justice.
Bernas, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission and now dean emeritus of the Ateneo School of Law, echoes Pangilinan’s sentiment that the appointment of the new Chief of Justice should be left to the next President.
“The biggest loser in this, should it escalate into an acrimonious legal battle, is the Court itself. The damage that can be done to the office of the Chief Justice being embroiled in an appointment of doubtful legality will be immeasurable, and its consequences far reaching,” says Pangilinan. “It could very well pit justices against justices, and may sharply divide the Court and the legal community in an unprecedented manner. This can lead to very damaging consequences for the rule of law.”
“The harm caused by this appointment will take many years to correct. The crisis of legitimacy will be passed on from the Presidency to the post of Chief Justice. I cannot see how the Judiciary can benefit from such a course of action. A strong leader will shield the Supreme Court from controversy and intrigue, and provide leadership that will strengthen rather than weaken the institutions around him or her. A weak leader, on the other hand, will go down and bring others down with him or her. This is what the Arroyo government is doing. Arroyo’s folly is truly regrettable.”
“Between having an acting Chief Justice take the place of CJ Puno, and having a permanent Chief Justice embroiled in legal and constitutional controversy, I will choose the former. The national interest is best served by insulating the office from illegal and unconstitutional acts of the Executive Department.”