SC aids corruption – Aquino

Published by rudy Date posted on October 15, 2010

Injunction order lets appointees of GMA get jobs back

President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday accused the Supreme Court (SC) of aiding corruption after it blocked his move to fire officials linked to millions of dollars’ worth of allegedly shady deals. He lashed at the 15-member High Court, a day after it issued a temporary injunction against his move to sack from the bureaucracy key allies of his predecessor and now lawmaker Gloria Arroyo, who he alleges to be corrupt.

“This [High Tribunal] order has the potential to derail or even nullify our efforts to uncover and reverse ‘midnight’ deals, streamline the bureaucracy and implement reforms to bring back good governance,” President Aquino told a press conference.

The order “would enable those who had participated in midnight deals to, at the very least, cover their tracks, and complete these acts inimical to the public interest,” the President said.

Mr. Aquino urged the justices to consider the implications of its order, which he said could undermine newfound confidence in the economy, and warned them of a potential showdown with his government.

“That recent action by the Supreme Court tests the limits of its constitutional authority and its latest order could precipitate a clash with another separate co-equal branch of government,” he said.

Since he came to power in June this year, the President added, he had forced out hundreds of Arroyo allies from key government posts.

“We put in their place people who shared our aims. Our appointments allowed us to discover questionable deals which we immediately stopped,” Mr. Aquino said.

According to him, the new officials uncovered close to P1 billion ($23 million) in anomalous contracts entered into during Mrs. Arroyo’s more than nine years in power.

These dubious deals, the President said, have since been cancelled.

But the injunction order from the High Court means that those people sacked from their posts could get their jobs back.

On Wednesday, the High Tribunal issued a status quo ante order granting a motion of Bai Omera Dianalan-Lucman to stop Malacañang from implementing Executive Order (EO) 2, which immediately revoked all midnight appointments made by the Arroyo administration.

Lucman, the commissioner and secretary of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, was an alleged midnight appointee of Mrs. Arroyo.

Mr. Aquino said that he issued EO 2 “because the previous administration had exceeded and abused the limits of its powers to appoint.”

“We had to issue EO 2 because there were people who accepted illegal appointments. By knowingly accepting illegal appointments, they became part of a conspiracy to impede and to thwart our people’s clamor for a return to good governance,” he added.

“While this status quo ante order applies only to one of four petitioners, let me be clear about its far-reaching consequences. By focusing on the minutiae of the case, the Supreme Court effectively turned back the clock. It dishonors the decency of those who had the courtesy to resign,” the President said.

“The potential result of this will be chaos and paralysis in the executive branch of government, as the legitimacy of officials appointed to replace those already removed will be cast in doubt,” he added.

Mr. Aquino said that the Supreme Court decision will “embolden hundreds of similarly situated appointees of the past administration who had already been replaced, resigned, or recalled, to demand that they be reinstated or retained.”

“And having returned to their previous posts, what can we expect from people who accepted illegal appointments to begin with?” he asked.

The President said that the order has the potential to derail, or even nullify, the government’s efforts to uncover and reverse midnight deals, streamline the bureaucracy and implement reforms.

He, however, refused to comment on whether the High Court decision may have something to do with the fact that majority of the High Tribunal justices were appointees of former President Arroyo.

“I’d rather maintain the view that I hold them [justices] in respect, and I expect them to do what is right for the people,” the President said.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima advised the Supreme Court to take the statements of Mr.
Aquino “constructively with an open mind and with full understanding of the constitutional separation of powers principle under the Constitution.”

Then President Arroyo appointed a close ally, Renato Corona, as the High Tribunal’s chief justice in the last months of her presidency, a move that deeply angered her eventual successor, who said that the incoming president should have done so.

High Court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez was unavailable for comment, his staff told Agence France-Presse.

Then Sen. Aquino won elections for president in May by a landslide after campaigning on a platform of good governance and a promise to crush pervasive corruption that had for years weighed down the Philippines.

As the 15th President of the Philippines, he formed a Truth Commission to pursue Mrs. Arroyo and potentially have her charged for her allegedly corrupt activities while in power. –Cris G. Odronia Reporter with Reports From Rommel C. Lontayao, Llanesca T. Panti and AFP

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