GMA’s Midnight CJ (Updated)
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo knows her politics – the personal interest-centered, expedient, and for-my-survival kind.
So it is that while knowing who the Philippines’ next legitimately-mandated President already is, this newly elected congresswoman from
Pampanga has gone ahead with her midnight appointment of the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – her own former chief of staff and ex-spokesman, Associate Justice Renato Corona.
This should not take anything away from the incoming CJ, and neither should his 78% pro-Arroyo voting record on the high court say anything about how he’ll manage the deliberations of the SC when the flood of cases come against his ex-boss for various alleged crimes during her 9-year reign.
Surely the eminent jurist will not be bothered by the announced preference of the country’s 15th President to take his own oath of office before a barangay captain rather than before the new Chief Justice.
It will be for CJ Corona to prove he is no one’s lackey and that the Filipino people are his masters.
Let Lady Justice, with her eyes blindfolded and sword unsheathed guide you, Mr. Chief Justice.
Among the issues reported about CJ Corona, as chronicled by NewsBreak:
Mrs. Cristina Corona in 2008 signed a manifesto in support of GMA, who was accused of accepting a bribe from the aborted $329-million NBN-ZTE deal. Justice Corona’s wife had been appointed as head of Camp John Hay way back in 2007, when Corona himself was already in the Court (He was appointed in 2002). The Chief Justice has asked his wife to resign from the Camp John Hay Management Corporation effective JHune 30 this year.
Justice Corona was asked then to inhibit himself when the SC took up the case of whether former socioeconomic planning secretary Romulo Neri could invoke executive privilege when subpoenaed by Congress regarding the NBN-ZTE deal.
Corona did not inhibit and voted in favor of Neri’s invocation of executive privilege.
Corona voted against the disclosure of the technical preparation done by the Commission on Elections for the first nationwide poll automation.
Former vice president Teofisto Guingona Jr., Protestant bishop Leo Soriano Jr., Quintin Doromal, Fe Maria Arriola, Isagani Serrano, and Rodolfo Lozada Jr. asked the Court to compel the Commission on Elections to make its preparation public following the malfunctioning of compact flash cards in various precincts days before the elections.
“[The] Comelec cannot shirk its constitutional duty to disclose fully to the public complete details of all information relating to its preparations for the May 10, 2010 elections without violating the Constitution and relevant laws,” the Court said. Corona, along with Justices Roberto Abad and Presbitero Velasco, dissented, however.
Corona also voted in 2008 that prohibiting the media from playing “Hello, Garci” tapes does not constitute prior restraint.
In the said case, the National Telecommunications Commission and the Department of Justice warned that the media would be sanctioned if they continued to play recorded conversations between President Arroyo and Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano during the canvassing of presidential votes. The conversations touched on securing Arroyo’s votes in Mindanao during the 2004 presidential elections.
Another case that covered the issue of prior restraint involved Eliseo Soriano, leader of the religious group Ang Dating Daan. Corona voted with the majority who upheld the decision of the Movie and Television Review Classification Board suspending Soriano for saying profanities on air against the ministers of another religious group Iglesia ni Cristo.