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Duterte can mold Supreme Court after his image


Before the time he is ready to step down from office on June 30, 2022, President Rodrigo Duterte must have appointed 12 of the 15 justices of the Supreme Court. The number could even be higher at 13 if rumors that a powerful cabal moving within the Court and the Congress to oust Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno proved true — allegedly, and ironically, on charges of tax evasion.

If Sereno keeps her position, however, three of the six Supreme Court justices appointed by two predecessors of Duterte will be in the Court when he ends his term. The rest will have reached the mandatory retirement age of 70, and replaced by Duterte by then.

It would be a unique opportunity for a President who is both anti-elite and an outsider from the country’s traditional ruling class, to mold the Supreme Court, and therefore our legal system, according to his own unusual, pro-poor view of the world. The Supreme Court, even by design, has really been one of the bastions of elite rule, although there, indeed, have been unique cases when the Court defied the elite, as in its ruling that the Hacienda Luisita agrarian reform was fake. (It cost its Chief Justice Renato Corona his job, and tragically I have to say, even his life.)

But not only that, the reality of the legal community is that with Duterte picking 12 justices in the next six years, about two justices per year, he has in effect the means to ensure that the judicial system consisting of Sandiganbayan, the Appellate Court, and the Regional Trial judges support him, even in what would likely be his controversial moves.

Traditionally, and perhaps logically, (until President Aquino basically broke the practice and appointed mediocre legal academics like Chief Justice Sereno), justices of the Supreme Court are picked from the most experienced pool of judges and justices from the country’s advanced courts, mainly from the special anti-graft courts Sandiganbayan, the Court of Appeals and Regional Trial Courts.

It would be human nature, of course, for even these judges to aspire to the highest court of the land, which would be the pinnacle of their legal careers. While they would do so by seeking connections to the President, or to those close to him, the one thing they can do to increase their chances is not to cross the President in cases in which his policies and programs are put on the line.

No doubt he’s out to bury her. And no doubt he likely will.
No doubt he’s out to bury her. And no doubt he likely will.

The Commission on Human Rights and Senator Leila de Lima should kiss any plans of bringing to the courts their claims of extrajudicial killings goodbye.

Following is the schedule of retirements at the Supreme Court during Duterte’s term:

• 2016 and 2017:
Justices Jose Perez (Dec. 14, 2016)
Arturo Brion (Dec. 29, 2016)
Bienvenido Perez (July 6, 2017)
Jose Mendoza (Aug. 13 2017);

• 2018
Presbitero Velasco (Aug. 8)
Teresita de Castro (Oct. 8)

• 2019
Mariano del Castillo (July 29)
Francis Jardeleza (Sept. 26)
Lucas Bersamin (Oct. 18)
Antonio Carpio (Oct. 26)

• 2022
Diosdado Peralta (March 27)
Estela Perlas-Bernabe (May 14).

In contrast, Aquino was able to appoint only six Supreme Court justices, although Presidents Ramos and Arroyo did install 14 and 21 justices, respectively, but sadly failed to mold the Court to their world-views. Or did they?

De Lima should resign
Sen. Leila de Lima should start thinking of giving up her Senate seat. Her position has become untenable, even as President Duterte, who has emerged as an extremely popular and powerful president, is undoubtedly out to bury her — and the scenario seems to be unfolding at this time when his political capital is at its height.

And for all of De Lima’s playing of the woman card, she has not at all denied that she has had intimate and sexual relationship with her subordinate Ronnie Dayan, her former bodyguard-driver. Shortly after his first de Lima slam, Duterte went for another strike by announcing in a televised comment that the senator has taken another lover, an MMDA motorcycle escort, after she apparently got tired of Dayan.

While we live in a liberal age, a senator having a relationship with her married subordinate, and allegedly gifting him with houses and even vehicles, create a dent on the integrity of the entire Senate, which is supposed to be a model of uprightness for citizens, and especially the youth.

If proven that she did gift her lover with houses, the obvious question is where could she have made the money for this when she had been in government for only 12 years since President Arroyo’s term, as head of the Commission on Human Rights?

What makes her position untenable is that she was Justice Secretary for six years, the Republic’s prime law-enforcement officer. Yet in her six years in office, just like his boss President Aquino, she had hardly alerted the nation to the rapid proliferation of illegal drugs and the monstrous social menace that has created. She hadn’t undertaken even a fraction of the scale of operations against it that the present administration has lunched in just two months.

It is difficult to believe that she had been largely ignorant of the illegal drug industry’s proliferation in this country. It is as difficult to believe that she simply closed her eyes to this while it was happening, free of any blame.

Now we are all shocked that illegal drugs use has been uncovered as a plague upon the nation, with 10 percent of our adult population dependent on them, and that the industry has become a main generator of corruption and crime in our society.

What could be a clearer indictment of an incompetent justice secretary than the fact that the Bilibid National Prison, which was under her supervision, had become not only the command center of drug lords, but also their distribution point and even manufacturing facility?

Had the extent of the illegal drug problem been disclosed during the last elections, there is no doubt de Lima would not have been elected as senator, and would have even landed in the lowest rungs. A senatorial contest for a non-incumbent senator has been estimated to cost at least P500 million. From where and how could de Lima have raised such kind of money?

In the final analysis, de Lima as senator is a fraud, having been elected on a completely false premise that she did her job as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, and if the allegations by President Duterte against her turn out to be correct, she even probably raised campaign funds from the very criminals she was supposed to put in jail. On the other hand, what value can she add to the Senate when her purported qualification for the post, that of basically being a former justice secretary, proves to be spurious?

Never before has such a sitting senator been exposed to so much public scrutiny for allegations of being a fraud. De Lima should spare the country, and herself, from such ignominy. She should scour deep in her heart to find some patriotism, and resign her post in what is often referred to in a cliché, but in a fervent wish, as the country’s august body.


This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Lolita Bocar

    haha, what a beautiful show. de5, it’s time for you to resign, you are a disgrace to the whole Community. don’t wait until you face those Drug Lords that you protected while you we’re the dilg at that time. you are the most hypocrite political kabarilan of panot. Broadcast now who you are protecting. i cannot wait to see your soul burn in hell.tsik,tsik, Satan you. typical ass hole!!!

  2. Jay R

    Totally agree on this. De Lima should resign not just because of the recent accusations on morality and drug connections but simply because of her failure to curb and stop NBP drug den and prosecuting offenders connected with the LP and Pnoy. She is the icon of selective justice.

  3. ice

    He’ll most likely appoint another classmate or fratmate.

    1. Aphetsky Lasa

      If the appointee is fit to a tee, why not. Does it really matter whether he is the President’s classmate or fratmate?

  4. jun marcelino

    Sen de lima was caught red handed on her illicit and immoral affair with her married driver/bodyguard, ronnie dayan. She has no option but to resign as senator, as no one will believe nor support her for whatever issues she will bring out to the public

  5. Supsupin

    D5 is beleaguered and DU30 is on the warpath…I pity D5 for her miscalculations of the problem and now she is akin to what was B9 before the election. B9 stood path that he was clean until accusations of him being corrupt surfaced which he did not face outright…and so does D5. D5 is now a rag doll that only the witches would like to have. The hag she is and she has no place in the Senate. I remember again the Japanese culture committing sepuko to cleanse their name and to return the honor of their family. D5 with the onslaught of demeaning accusations of her personae and scalawag dealings her blood won’t do any good purification of her name and family and committing sepuko in the name of the DRUG LORDS is not honorable…electric chair is…

  6. Rudi Miranda

    Bobbi Thank you! De Lima oughjt to be buried deep…

  7. Tone Cope

    Who should cast the first stone?

    1. Aphetsky Lasa

      De Lima is an exception to the rule.

  8. dee

    You’re right. And what is appalling is Filipinos like de Lima clinging on power, Senator. Wala na bang “delicadeza” ang mga government officials natin.

  9. eltee mulawin

    Ms LIE-LIE DILEMA will not resign. She had a full support of Mr. Citizen Abnoy plus LP+Ombudsman+Serano and the Godfathers of Illegal Drugs (GFID) plus some Oligarch Businessmen.

    The problems that President Duterte may encounter in his crusades against Illegal Drugs and against Graft and Corrupt are.
    1) Filipinos are traditionally naive and susceptible meaning GULLIBLE. So those 17 million who elected him will be gradually will oppose and will be diverted against him sooner or later by the present opposition personalities either from political parties or civil society and business organizations.
    2) Congressmen ans Senators will not stick on his side for entire 6 years. Because of the large amount or millions of money they had have received thru illegal DAP/PDAP from Mr. Citizen Abnoy. They are naturally an opportunist politician forever.
    3) Ombusdman chief, Sandingan Bayan and the Supreme Court Justices. These institutions already infected and politically fraternized by past administration of Mr. Citizen Abnoy. Unless those seated in that institution will be removed immediately.

    Therefore, the present situation might be in favor of President Duterte, BUT IF HE WILL NOT CONSIDER THE ABOVE PROBLEMS HE MAY NOT SUCCEED. AND THAT WILL HAPPENED GRADUALLY STARTING ON MIDYEAR 2017.

  10. Concern Netizen

    Tiglao is an Arroyo lapdog. He will kiss Digong’s ass for releasing her from detention. I can’t imagine this is happening. How he could fight corruption now? Where is Peter Lim? Isn’t it obvious who is protecting the druglords? No bigtime druglords have been killed or jailed despite the massacre of thousaunds of poor suspected pushers, addicts and innocent people. Only stupid person will believe what Digong is saying.

    1. cris

      yellowish peoples normally has no brains at all for they were brained washed hence brains were already washed out since kurikung time. read your comments again and you will realize that you have no brains…

  11. alan kkk

    de lima is the key to a more serious revelation of the other high profile personality ” that cannot be easily mentioned in the List until the profound evidence and links are secured .” More revelations !

  12. Lamberto

    As have always a clear annalogy of everything what is happening to our beloved country. Salamat po.

  13. innal

    Thank you Mr. Tiglao!

  14. jack reacher

    hindi ito titigilan nang presidente… we ‘ve seen the last of those senate investigations na walang nangyari … this one will stay like a lingering disease that will move on to more unfolding revelations scalding de lima’s reputation and pushing her more on the verge of resignation … at palagay ko hindi hihinto sa resignation — hanggang mapilitan siyang sabihin kung sino ang nasa likod niya — this means those above and names among her peers.

  15. vg

    Without any doubt Delima should resign. We do not need anyone like her in our government.

  16. neil

    Ayon sa inestigation na isinagawa ng GMA news 7 reporter THREE days ago, pinuntahan nila sa PANGASINAN at sa CALOOCAN ang mga RELATIVES ni Ronnie Dayan (kalaguyo raw ni DE LIMA)…ang sabi ng mga kamag-anak….pangTABLOID at CHISMIS lang daw….TIKTIK at pang INDAY-BADIDAY lang daw ang akusasyon..

    CHISMIS lang ang MALAKING BAHAY sa PANGASINAN, apat na JEEPNEYS at VIOS na iniregalo ni DE LIMA at HAKA-HAKA lang ang sinasabing ka-relasyon nito si DE LIMA….

  17. 363252Uyanguren

    Who is MORE immoral Duterte or de Lima?

  18. Marc Gamora

    She should really resign to at least save herself and the Senate from total disgrace. But from the looks of it, she will hang on to the last thread seeking pity (kawawa naman sya) until she is kicked out.

  19. Leodegardo Pruna

    De Lima is sill counting her numbers to keep her seat in the senate. When the count becomes De Sampu, she should by then be snoring in her sleep. She has brought nothing but shame to the senate. She is not alone however for the others are still up with their arms ready to thwart any threat against them. We have a senate filled with individuals of selfish persuasions unlike before when we had intellectuals like Recto, Tanada, Diokno, and the like. God bless the Philippines

    1. CARLITO

      The August Senate Hall has now become the Senate Hall of Shame with Delima, Drilon and Sotto!

  20. elfieda g maddara

    (1) No blind and deaf (callous to kobol construction noise for months) bilibid prison director/s were charged of criminal/admin case/s at all; they were only dismissed and replaced. (2) The senator herself articulated in the senate hearing that bilibid drug lords perpetuated their trade using cellphones. (3) Riding in tandems shooting INNOCENT victims here and there almost everyday did not matter to her as DOJ chief. Only three points she is answerable to the public. Who will bring her to the courts?
    A paradox: D5 ignored INNOCENT victims being killed but loathes CRIMINALS being shot by anti drug police. Where did she learn her Ethics? Isn’t she shaming her Alma Mater?

  21. dave

    migs zubiri promptly resigned when it was shown that his election to the senate was the result of cheating by other people; leila de lima should resign because she is a disgrace to the senate herself…

  22. Jun Marlang Estioko

    Thank you once more for giving us one of very few worth reading pieces in today’s newspapers. I just want to say my humble view, that the delimma has not gotten tired of Dayan but rather had established him permanently as one of her growing number of testicles, sorry tentacles rather.

  23. Carmencita Dizon

    You wrote it well. thanks

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