Aquino to strengthen legal team

Aquino in ANC interview

It’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.”

December 28, 2011 1:47 am  Tags:   Posted in: Justice, Malaya

295 Responses

  1. chijap - December 28, 2011 2:56 am

    “barring Arroyo from leaving the country, something that only an a court can do.”

    Ma’am Ellen, please excuse me if i am mis-informed or not up to date, but i believe the WOL invalidity has not been answered by the courts.

    I also agree that putting people behinds bars as legal and transparent as possible is the right way to go. And with this i have not seen anything illegal nor non-transparent on the part of the current government.

    I like how you said it that Aquino is running it on creativity. Well for Arroyo’s brilliance and well planned schemes, sometimes thats the best you got.

    With the Judges in her bag and lots of money at her disposal, she still is one adversary to beat. Besides, you saw it yourself – we can’t expect Arroyo to follow the rules. You have to be creative, so well said! :)

    Arroyo made that attempt to have an “expert checkup abroad” (sure) because she knows cases are coming. She tried to use her brilliance with that excuse, and if Aquino merely followed the prosecution to the letter, then Arroyo is spending a white Christmas somewhere in Munich.

    Maski nafile yung kaso say noong October, August pa lang nagkaroon na ng sakit si GMA.

    With the whole drama, at least naipit si GMA. She was caught onto something she has not anticipated or planned. Nothing illegal but it got the job done. Granted, its rather odd Aquino had to do this approach, but imho, GMA is also a special case.

  2. Rudolfo - December 28, 2011 3:54 am

    I Thought of A Jury System creation, plus strengthening the legal System Team of president PNOY. If these two work together, I am sure there will be more improvements in the Justice System of the country. The Jury System ( Grand and Trial ) for the poor and the middle class, and the Legal Team for the workers and the rich or elites, and other sectors of the Filipino society. I mean “two sides of the coin” will be working together, disallowing or negating illegal justices, making the country a better place to live, and becoming a “Tiger of Asia”..

  3. Phil Cruz - December 28, 2011 6:36 am

    Yes, it took a lot of Creativity to finally lock Gloria behind hospital bars. But add to that a lot of Balls.

    Creativity and Balls.

    And never losing sight of What was Right over What was Legal.

    Gloria had a lot of creativity and balls, too. But she lost track of what was right and used the legalities to do what was wrong.

  4. Phil Cruz - December 28, 2011 6:40 am

    In life, the street smart will usually triumph over the book smart.

  5. olan - December 28, 2011 9:35 am

    In my view, arroyo is NOT briliiant in distorting the law to suit her interest. She was aided by many who benefited from her rule by those willing participants and/or accomplice during her term. They are known congressman and women, senators, justices, obispo or puno ng simbahan, and even ex-general, etc. These people has no shame whatsoever they work and live most of their sorry lives like bamboos, they swing wherever the wind blows so long they keep on making the buck out of the peoples pocket without accountability and to think they wanted to be called kagalang galang. Ala mafia, tulong tulong sa pagnanakaw gamit ang batas at pera ng bayan. Else, she would have not became a President, twice! somebody without balls blessed her “nakaw na pag ka pangulo”. In addition, Mercy would have not became Ombudsman if not for the CA concurring and/or her impeachment progress terminated early on (i.e. for sitting on cases involving arroyo and her lap dogs) nabawasan sana ang mala kilometrong anomalya, and now Corona as cheap justice, even its against our constitution to be appointed as one during election period and yet the supreme court blessed his appointments even without constitutional basis, katha lang nila ang rason, by the many justices appointed by arroyo. hah!

    At the end of the day, people wants “tuwid na daan” even though many question its direction. I believe the present administration of pnoy is sincere marami lang balakid sa gobyerno dahil kasi godyerno rin ang kalaban, yung mga dilehensyador na uri na laging nanduon!
    Ang pagbabago o tuwid na daan ay mangyayari lamang if we have a reformed judiciary, kasi sila ang boses ng katarungan, lalo na ang korte suprema at comelec. Kung mga bayarang inutil ang nakaupo, san daang mang pnoy puro temporary lang ang pagbabago dahil they will swing wherever the wind blows!!!

  6. Jake Las Pinas - December 28, 2011 11:36 am

    No matter how good the legal team is, if the majority of the supreme court judges are Arroyo appointees, you will never have a favorable ruling. The supreme court should be purged of most arroyo appointees. Two were rewarded for convicting Estrada, one is a plaigarist. Do they really deserve to be supreme court judges?

    Word is going around that the Corona legal team has a foreign expert on its side. Who paid for it? Can someone ask E. Mendoza?

  7. johnmarzan - December 28, 2011 12:47 pm

    This if creepy. hope it’s not photoshopped.

    RT @djbabymike @Jimparedes @SagadaSun Wow, Hitler in Topacio’s Office?

  8. johnmarzan - December 28, 2011 1:10 pm

    i don’t blame the aquino gov’t at all. they had to make a difficult end run around arroyo’s supreme court and ombudsman mercy gutierrez just to deliver justice to GMA. ito ang mga “landmines” na ibinaon ni arroyo before she left office.

  9. phil - December 28, 2011 1:30 pm

    “he need not resort to making us believe it is good governance to bend the law to make Gloria Arroyo accountable…”
    So far, it has been the Supreme Court headed by the current Cheap Justice bending the law to protect Arroyo. As Jake said, no matter how good the government’s legal team is, we will never get any fair ruling until the current CJ and SC members, particularly Arroyo appointees, are replaced. Arroyo’s millions have been flowing – that has always been her dirty survival tool. Instead of complaining about SC bending the law to protect its benefactor in clear violation of its mandate, here we are complaining about a president serious enough to put the SC and the entire judiciary in ‘matuwid na daan’ as the one bending the law. We will really go nowhere.

  10. saxnviolins - December 28, 2011 7:46 pm

    If lelila Delay Ma did not tarry in filing the cases, there would have been no need for that wheelchair chaase at the NAIA.

    The government needs good seasoned litigators, not academics. The problem is, successful litigation lawyers will take a cut in pay if they serve the government. One, therefore, will have to promote from the ranks, for those people are already used to government salaries. I’m sure there are some good fiscals at the provincial level.

    They can also source from the RTC; those who were once prosecutors. I personally know a good one, a contemporary of Leonen. Her name is Divina Luz Aquino-Simbulan, RTC Pampanga.

    We need some deep selection process, not just looking at those who are most visible. Diamonds are buried deep in the bureaucracy. The ostensibly shining aren’t always true gems.

  11. Oblak - December 28, 2011 8:47 pm

    Mahirap maka buo ng dekalidad na legal team si Pnoy. Bibihira ang pribado ng abogado na magaling na kumikita ng malaki ang papayag sa maliit na sweldo sa gobyerno. Hindi rin naman pwede na may special allowances na ibibigay sa kanila. Ang pwede lang tumanggap ay yung may mga pangarap na maging justice ng Court of Appeals o supreme Court bilang kapalit ng pagsisilbi kay Pnoy.

    Mahirap ding kumuha sa mga incumbent judges sa first at second level courts. Kung judge na hanggang 70 years old ang retirement, mag iisip ng sampung beses na umalis sa judiciary para maging legal team ni Pnoy na hanggang 2016 lang.

  12. saxnviolins - December 28, 2011 9:35 pm

    # 7

    The opposition (to Topacio), have the picture of the president in their offices.

    This is Topacio’s way of saying the president is a dictator.

    I do not agree, but that I think is the intended point – the snide dig at Noy.

  13. chijap - December 29, 2011 1:03 am

    12, a little childish on Topacio’s side is it not?

    It only shows Topacio is no honorable man (definitely not a E.Mendoza) but rather a petty showbiz character.

    Sana di naman ganun mga abogado sa atin.

    sax, btw didn’t the delay of charges being filed came from Comelec and not DOJ?

  14. Manachito - December 29, 2011 6:01 am

    The difference between Topacio and a shark? The shark blinks!

  15. chijap - January 3, 2012 9:57 am

    Sax, JohnMarzan,

    Per the recent news report (I’ve , Topacio is not just comparing Aquino to Hitler, Topacio is saying Hitler was a great man and innocent of the Jewish massacre known as the Holocaust.

    It made me wonder if Germany has any connection to Arroyo’s camp, with Hitler and the actual suspected destination from GMA was Deutschland creeping out. Are they asking for Germany’s help?


  16. saxnviolins - January 5, 2012 12:28 am

    I don’t think you can get help from Deutschland by reference to Hitler. The whole country has repudiated that part of their past.

    Also, Hitler was born in Austria, not Germany. To say that he is German because Austrians are Germanic by bloodline is to say that Lee Kuan Yew is Chinese, because Singaporeans are Chinese by blood.

    Topacio makes a valid point, with regard to surveys, by stating the following:

    “Kung noon siguro ay may mga Pulse Asia sa germany at tinanong nila ang mga Germans, tama ba ang ginagawa ni Chancellor Adolf Hitler sa mga Jews, palagay ko hindi lang 90% ang magiging approval rating. Ngunit tama ba? O kayo na ang magsabi,” he said.

    Hindi como popular, ibig sabihin ay tama. Kaya nga may binigay na free will ang Panginoon, para makapagpasiya tayo, hindi yung may herd mentality.

    Laging sigaw ng mga populista, “vox populi, vox Dei”.

    Not always.

    Once upon a time, the voice of the people shouted
    “Crucify Him.”

    At another time, the voice of the people shouted
    “Sieg Heil.”

    A third time, the alleged voice of the people shouted
    “Erap out, Gloria in.”

    Like Rene Saguisag says, from the frying pan into the conflagration ang taumbayan.

    Kaya magpasiya ng sarili, hindi yung nakikiuso base sa survey.

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