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'Expanded judicial power a duty of SC'


LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… the angel said to her, `Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus’…” (Luke 1:30-31, the Holy Bible).

ISSUE ON APPOINTING THE NEXT CJ: There is an interesting legal argument being raised by some lawyers which looks at what will happen if and when Chief Justice Renato Corona is convicted by the Senate and removed from office: can President Aquino legally appoint the next chief justice?
The argument is that under the Constitution, the President can only appoint a chief justice based on the recommendations of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which is headed by a chief justice. If the chief justice is impeached, the JBC cannot convene and hence cannot submit any recommendation, so the President cannot appoint anyone, so the argument goes.
But, as Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will say, “wait a minute”. If the chief justice is impeached and is disabled for any reason, is it not that under existing laws the next senior associate justice gets to be automatically designated as the “acting” chief justice and so is given the power to chair the JBC, thereby allowing the body to continue functioning?

SUPPORT FOR CORONA WELLING UP: The Internet, particularly Facebook, was abuzz with reports the other night that members of the powerful Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) will stage rallies at the Supreme Court and the Senate on Thursday, to show support for Corona. As pictures of the rallies showed, the tribunal and the Senate were swamped with thousands of people that day. Are we seeing the realization of a prediction by a local seer that a powerful church will cause the downfall of Aquino?

QUESTION FOR SENATORS: I have a question to our senators who have been very vocal about the “supremacy” of the Senate sitting as an impeachment court: have these senators read the Constitution, enacted by the first Aquino presidency in 1987, and its provision (Section 1, Article 8) which says the Supreme Court can review---and therefore set aside---any act of any government branch or instrumentality considered as grave abuse? Is the impeachment court not an instrumentality of government?

WILL SENATE DEFY SC? Now that the high court issued an indefinite temporary restraining order against the impeachment court prohibiting it from looking into the dollar accounts of Corona, will our senators insist on their supposed independence and defy the Supreme Court? If they do that, they would not only be violating Section 1, Article 8 of the Constitution, which is graft and corruption. Worse, they would be setting up anarchy and lawlessness among our people.

KAREN JIMENO CONCERNED WITH BEAUTY: Someone sent this information to me: defense lawyer Karen Jimeno is very meticulous not only on the evidence and arguments being submitted in the trial of Corona. She is also very wary about how she looks, such that, for every five or so minutes while she sits in the defense panel, she keeps on looking at a small mirror from her bag, to see if everything is alright with how she looks. And this is not even meant to be a joke!

BANK WHISTLEBLOWER A COLUMNIST? Is it true, as some Facebook articles are saying, that the “small lady” who gave the prosecution the bank documents about Corona’s peso and dollar accounts is actually a columnist of a newspaper whose husband is also a columnist? I know the lady columnist referred to, and I call her “RER”, but my recollection is that she is so reserved she will not do anything illegal like disclosing confidential bank records. What happened, Ms. “Small Lady”?

“EXPANDED JUDICIAL POWER IS A DUTY OF SC”: And finally, here is another quotation from the case “Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr. vs. Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc.”, G.R. No. 160261, November 10, 2003: “… the judicial power… granted to the Philippine Supreme Court and lower courts, as expressly provided for in the Constitution, is not just a power but also a duty, and it was given an expanded definition to include the power to correct any grave abuse of discretion on the part of any government branch or instrumentality…”

By Atty. Batas Mauricio

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