POSTSCRIPT / September 11, 2012 / Tuesday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Now P-Noy knows how cruel the mob could be

NO TIME FOR P-NOY: Despite the hype whipped up by Malacañang before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting last week in Vladivostok, the hoped-for one-on-one between President Noynoy Aquino and China President Hu Jintao on the side was tentative at best.

The Chinese leader must have been warned of the possible exploitation by Manila spinmasters of such a meeting. China already has the advantage of actual occupation of disputed isles, so why would Hu risk his country’s psychological edge being watered down?

It was disheartening that Hu found time to meet with other isle claimants: Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang (a Chinese government spokesman described their talks as friendly), the sultan of Brunei, and the representative of Taiwan. But not for President Aquino.

Despite earlier promises of a possible dialogue with his counterpart from Manila, Hu flew back to Beijing without taking time to chat with him.

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NEAT SCENARIO: We can almost hear the sirens of the firemen rushing in on their yellow truck to douse the fire ignited by fumbles of (still) DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno before it could engulf his Boss.

We would soon be treated to a scenario and timeline wrapping up neatly what supposedly happened from the time then Secretary Jesse Robredo’s plane crashed — and what was said and done by Puno, Mrs. Leni Robredo, Secretary Leila de Lima and a host of other characters, including President Aquino.

But since the President himself has already cleared his buddy, the inevitable conclusion of the narration is that Puno is blameless.

Such an oddity has elicited comments that in the case, for instance, of the midnight procurement of overpriced (double the market price) assault rifles for the Philippine National Police it might turn out that it was the fault of the rifles — and not Puno — that they are that expensive.

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ALBATROSS: A point in my last Postscript bears reiteration: While some past presidents fell in the public esteem because of the excesses of their spouses, will Noynoy Aquino find Puno, his eyes and ears from way back, to be the albatross around his neck?

It is just a question, but something worth pondering. To make it easier for his over-protective Boss, maybe Puno should just resign and spare him the anguish.

At this point, the Yellow crowd from the President down to the Palace bloggers and propagandists embedded in media should feel by now how it is to be mauled, kicked around and convicted in the public mind even before the evidence comes in.

Puno is possibly innocent. Good for him. But at least he and the others in the Palace now know how cruel the mob could be when it turns against its patron that had set it loose against his enemies.

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REACTIONS TO PAGUIA: We received varied reactions to the line of law professor Alan Paguia that the Chief Justice must not be appointed by the President, as is the practice, but elected by members of the Supreme Court from among themselves.

Below are comments of two lawyers taking a contrary position. First is Rene A.V. Saguisag, who said:

Among those the President may appoint, in the plenitude of his powers, is anyone where it may not be clear who the appointing power is. Appointment is intrinsically executive in nature. One category of officials who the President may appoint is ‘[a]ll other officers of the government whose appointment are not provided for by law.’

“I am comfortable with it because the people, through elected servants, have a say. The President is elected along with the senator or congressman who may sit in the Judicial and Bar Council. No CJ should be independent of the people who may not even elect a Justice as barangay dogcatcher.

“We cannot leave the choice of CJ to 15 unelected and maybe unelectable people, who may have no care for how the people may feel, not having to run for office. Their sole judicial task is to decide cases, not to jockey and campaign among themselves for support.

“Divisive. We have enough of that in the political posts. The intriguing proposition will foment Banda Uno Banda Dos intrigues. Factions we don’t need in the SC.

“Under Sec. 3 of PD No. 1949 the CJ alone has control of the JDF billions which he may be liberal with as to his supporters. Primus inter pares? He may be Primus. Period.

“I wonder in what civilized progressive country do Justices pick who will head them. If it ain’t broke….

“CJ Sereno was not my nominee. But P-Noy has exercised his constitutional power. They deserve the benefit of the doubt. The Justices should be loyal to the flag. If anyone bypassed can’t stand it, he may ape J. Florentino Torres in 1920 or J. Pompeyo Diaz and resigning 1954, to dramatize his passion for seniority, not a facot at all in the US.”

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S.C. SHIELDED: Another contrary opinion is from Ronald C. Catipay, Paguia’s fraternity brother at Ateneo Law:

“There is one significant matter that Allan may have missed when he likened the determination of the Chief Justice to the determination of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House.

“All members of the House and the Senate are elected directly by the people. All members of the Supreme Court, down to all the judges of the lower courts and all arbiters or tribunal presiding officers, are appointed by the President.

“Maybe the framers of the Constitution of the Philippines and probably those of the United States, whose Constitution we followed, saw to it that the Judiciary is protected from and not be enmeshed in ‘politics,’ especially ‘involved’ politics, which is the way we ‘choose government officials and make decisions about public policy.’

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of September 11, 2012)

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