Appeal To Supreme Court Will Spark Crisis, Enrile Warns Ex- Chief Justice.

A day after the senate decision about the impeachment of the Ex- Chief Justice, Renato Corona, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, issued a landmark and warned him against questioning the decision in the Supreme Court.

Enrile, who presided over the 44-day impeachment trial, and masterly steered it to its conclusion last Tuesday, maintained that the Senate had “the sole power to try and decide all impeachment cases” under the Constitution.

“I will say this very frankly and I hope they understand—if they (the Supreme Court) will question the jurisdiction of the impeachment court and reverse our decision, we will defy them,” he said in an interview with ANC where he kicked off a series of TV and radio interview, apparently to explain the verdict.

“If they want a constitutional crisis in this country, they will have one.”

Corona’s impeachment marked the first ever completed impeachment trial in the country’s history. But, In 2001, a similar ouster proceeding in the Senate against then President Joseph Estrada was aborted following a prosecution walkout.

Enrile was visibly in combat mode when the issue of appeal was raised the morning after 20 of the 23 members of the Senate impeachment court voted to convict Corona for his failure to declare dollar and peso deposits in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

Enrile expressed doubts over how a Supreme Court decision reversing the conviction of Corona could be enforced, considering that the Senate was “outside the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in terms of the trial and judgment in an impeachment case.”

“They cannot review our decision,” he said. “Otherwise, they will be the one to make the final decision in violation of the Constitution, which says that the Senate has the sole power to decide and try all impeachment cases.”

Constitution prohibits GMA to appoint the next Chief Justice- Fr. Bernas

Constitutionalist Fr. Joaqiun Bernas said on dzBB that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo cannot appoint the next chief justice without violating the Constitution. Mrs. Arroyo cannot make any appointments within 60 days before her term expires on June 30 this year.

The current Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno will be leaving the position on May 17, thus  making the position available. Fr. Bernas said that the next president will have enough time to appoint the successor of Chief Justice Puno. But he also points out that the Constitution allow only 90 days of vacancy and the next president should filed within that period.

Fr. Bernas added that any of the associate justice can take over the vacany in acting position.
However, Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) can only send the list of successor  on or after May 17 and it would be up to the next president’s decision.

But Pres. Arroyo’s election lawyer Romulo Macalintal argued that the constitution is not absolute on its prohibition to appoint any officials within two months.

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Villar tops latest survey

Senator Manuel Villar Jr. topped the list of potential presidential candidates whom the respondents want to succeed President Arroyo in 2010, the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey results showed.

In the nationwide survey fielded over June 19 to 22 among 1,500 respondents, results showed that Villar gained the nod of 33 percent of those asked in June from 26 percent last February.

Vice President Noli de Castro, the frontrunner in the past surveys, slipped with just 19 percent from 27 percent in the February survey.

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EDITORIAL – Zero tolerance

The right noises are being made. Now if only there could be leadership by example. The administration that has been hounded by the worst corruption scandals since the Marcos regime has just launched a moral renewal program, advocating “zero tolerance” for corruption.

In Administrative Order 255 dated Jan. 30, President Arroyo ordered all Cabinet officials and agency heads to implement the moral renewal program with the participation of religious and civic groups. Moral renewal, the order explained, “refers to values formation and ethical behavior for government officers and employees.” The President also referred to Filipino values embodied in the Constitution that must be strengthened, among them respect for the law, justice, truth, freedom, equality, peace and faith in God. [Read full article...]

Brazening it out

It is probably naïve to suppose that Gloria Arroyo, this late in the day, will have an epiphany and start looking with all seriousness and sincerity into the latest accusation of thievery against her husband. Her standard reaction to charges of wrongdoing is to brazen it out, accusing critics of muckraking purely to gain cheap political points.

This has been so from the start (remember Mike’s undeclared stash running to hundreds of millions in some local banks?). She’ll brazen it out to the finish, which hopefully would be not long soon. Unless, of course, she succeeds in mangling the Constitution.

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Work, Not Cha cha

Businessmen want the government and lawmakers to work and focus on preserving jobs and leave the Constitution alone.

A survey done by Business Insight reporters showed that -from bankers and expats on their air-conditioned board rooms, the sari-sari store owners to men in the streets- feel that they have had enough of congressional hearings.

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Cha-cha train starts rolling anew at House

The Charter change (Cha-cha) train revs up and starts rolling anew at the House of Representatives as lawmakers resume their session today after a month-long Christmas break.
The committee on constitutional amendments is scheduled to meet Tuesday next week to vote on Resolution 737, which seeks to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution to allow foreign corporations and associations to own land.

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