Palace, SC in collision course?

AS the country’s top official, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has the prerogative to speak out and make known his opinions on certain issues.

But in as much as he wields enormous power, it immediately becomes a policy or a stand of the government once President Aquino opens his mouth and make a statement.

President Aquino therefore needs to be very careful whenever he expresses his thoughts lest he paints himself in the wall.

Such was the case when he expressed his opposition to decision of the Supreme Court to stop Palace orders on the so-called midnight appointments of the Arroyo administration.

Noynoy did not mince his words after the SC ruled to uphold the legality of what he described as “midnight appointment” of his predecessor.

On the other hand, Chief Justice Renato Corona has kept silent but was forced to eventually defend the SC after sensing that the Palace is determined to continue its scathing attack on the judiciary.

In a recent speech, during the 49th anniversary celebration of Philippine Constitutional Association (Philconsa) he stressed that SC was just exercising its constitutional duty to review actions of the both Palace and Congress and was not stepping on the powers of the two other co-equal branches of government.

Corona pointed out that judicial review is a power vested on the SC by the Constitution as the “vanguard of rule of law in our system of government.”

The CJ was emphatic when he declared that “when the SC invokes its power of judicial review, it does not assert its moral or constitutional ascendancy over the other two co-equal branches of government. It only reminds all and sundry of the non-negotiable supremacy of the Constitution”.

Now that CJ Corona has finally decided to speak, it seems like the judiciary and the executive are now headed to a collision course.

This development might not be good for the country and the people as this will further divide the already fractious and tense relationship between the said branches of our government.

I believe that while President Aquino could only be expressing his displeasure over the SC decision, he could have done it on a less passionate manner so as not to elicit adverse reactions from the judiciary.

His legal advisers could have done better had they reminded him that attacks and criticisms on the judiciary usually result to more chaos and confusion rather than stability and harmony in the government.

After all, CJ Corona could be correct when he declared that “it is the magistrate’s integrity that keeps the balance and equilibrium of the scales of justice on an even keel. And as long as that scale tilts neither to one side nor the other, that is the assurance that our democracy is alive and our system of justice deserves the people’s trust.” Bobby Ricohermoso


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