Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Corona pushes national healing

by Rey Requejo
Manila Standard

Chief Justice Renato Corona on Tuesday appealed to President-elect Benigno Aquino III to reconsider his confrontational attitude toward the Supreme Court, saying that Mr. Aquino is in a strong position to initiate the national healing process.

“I am urging everyone to be sober about things. We should not fight among ourselves, we are not enemies. We in the judiciary and those in the executive department are not necessarily friends but we do not need to be enemies,” Corona said, in an interview aired over radio station DzRH.

“Our people at this point want national healing from the mudslinging during the recent elections. Our people are seeing a new chapter in the history of the country because we have a new president who gives new hope for opportunities and an improvement in the life of our countrymen,” Corona said.

Aquino, who vowed not to recognize President Arroyo’s appointment of Corona as chief justice, has said that he would rather prefer to take his oath of office before a village chieftain than follow the tradition of being sworn in by the chief justice.

When asked for comment on reports that Aquino is now considering taking his oath of office before his colleague, Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, Corona said he does not feel bad about it.

“I do not have a reason to have ill-feelings because under the Constitution there is no requirement for the incoming presidency to be sworn in before the chief justice. It’s his prerogative and his right to choose before whom he will take his oath,” Corona said. “There is even no room to feel bad about it.”

“Our countrymen would not want to see their leaders fighting among themselves. It is unbecoming and does not speak well of the administration of Senator Aquino,” Corona observed.

Court spokesman and administrator Jose Midas Marquez earlier welcomed the decision of Aquino to take his oath of office before Justice Carpio-Morales, instead of a barangay chairman as he previously planned.

Marquez expressed hopes that Aquino would eventually allow newly appointed Chief Justice to administer his oath of office, once he is proclaimed President.

Nonetheless, Marquez said Aquinos taking his oath of office before Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales is “recognition of the independence” of the judiciary as a co-equal branch of government.

“It shows respect for an institution, but it would be better of course if you take your oath before the head of the institution, Marquez said.

Morales said they respect Aquino’s preference for Morales over Corona. “That’s Senator Aquino’s discretion, that’s his prerogative. There’s no law saying he should take it before the Chief Justice,” Marquez stressed.

“It shows respect for an institution, but it would be better of course if you take your oath before the head of the institution,” Marquez said.

Marquez said he is not discounting the possibility of resolving the controversy between the Aquino camp and the high court by next month.

“There’s a new president who will lead the country to greater heights. These are co-equal branches of government that are independent from each other and should work together for our country to move forward. I hope things can be patched up before June 30,” Marquez said.

Corona made himself available for a series of radio and television interviews to defend the legality of his appointment as successor of Chief Justice Reynato Puno who retired last May 17 and expressed his readiness to congratulate president-elect Aquino as well as the other officials who won during the first automated elections on May 10. “I’m not starting on the wrong foot . somebody else is,”Corona said, in an apparent allusion to Aquino’s statements that he would not recognize him as the chief justice and would not take his oath before him.

“I will send him congratulatory letter in the same way I will send my congratulations to the vice president and senators and I have written a number to my friends in Congress. It’s just basic courtesy, I don’t have to like him for me to congratulate him,” Corona said.

The new Chief Justice reiterated that all the legal obstacles have been removed before he accepted his appointment as chief justice.

We all went through the process from A-Z, as provided in the Constitution and it is every lawyer’s dream to be a supreme court justice, what more a Chief justice?”

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