Aquino to strengthen legal teamIt’s good that President Aquino finally saw the need to make changes in his legal team.
With a stronger legal team, he need not resort to making us believe it is good governance to bend the law to make Gloria Arroyo accountable for the crimes she committed against the Filipino people.
In an interview with ANC’s Lynda Jumilla, Aquino said his legal team is “being improved.”
No names were mentioned but it’s being talked about for some time that many of the lawyers in Aquino’s official family including Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is not happy with Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz.
Those reportedly being considered for the SolGen position include Securities and Exchange Commission Chairperson Teresita Herbosa; Professor Raul Pangalangan, former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law; and Chief negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Marvic Leonen, also former dean of the UP College of Law.
I’m told Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa has also a candidate for the position.
Aquino’s lightweight legal team has long been a subject of criticism. Many of those who supported his presidential campaign that promised reforms have been dismayed by acts of incompetence in the first one and a half years of his administration.
A major campaign promise by Aquino that made people vote for him was to make Arroyo accountable for her lying, cheating and stealing.
First, he formed the Truth Commission, which was declared unsconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
This is one of the issues that Aquino took against Chief Justice Renato Corona but even we have talked with a number of lawyers who support Aquino who also believe that the Truth Commission, aside from its being toothless, was really legally infirmed. And he even got a beneficiary of Arroyo’s violation of the law, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, to head that unlamented body.
The Truth Commission was formed to run after Arroyo because at that time the Ombudsman, who should be doing that task was Merceditas Gutierrez, an Arroyo sympathizer.
Last April, Gutierrez resigned after being impeached by the House of Representatives.
The Truth Commission and Gutierrez are long past but Aquino’s legal team was caught unprepared by the attempt of Arroyo to leave the country last month, most probably to avoid what Aquino had announced, which was the filing of criminal charges against her.
What Aquino’s legal team lacked in competence was more than made up for by their “creativity” with De Lima using a Watch Order List in barring Arroyo from leaving the country, something that only a court can do.
Malacañang has cured the legal deficiency of their earlier moves with the filing of the unbailable crime of electoral sabotage.Whether that charge will lead to the conviction of Arroyo is another matter. But what is important is Arroyo is in detention.
Arroyo has proven her brilliance in distorting the law to suit her interest. Aquino needs a brilliant team, not to out-distort the law, but to do what is right competently. That’s what, I understand, is the essence of “tuwid na daan.”