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Hitting the ground running

The way I see it, much of the protracted debate and discussion in the recent 8-6 Supreme Court decision on the ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno boils down to which side of the political fence you are on.

There is of course a middle ground of people who believe that there is logic to the decision on the quo warranto petition, because the Constitution provides another remedy to remove an impeachable official aside from, well, impeachment.

This was what was taken by the majority to question what right Sereno had to become Chief Justice. She knew from the start that she failed to submit a complete set of Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth. And yet she aspired to be the head of the judiciary.

We may blame the Judicial and Bar Council for putting Sereno on its short list when it was aware of her violation of the Constitution that requires public officials to submit their SALN.

It was former President Benigno Aquino III who appointed Sereno despite her lack of qualifications, in his eagerness to have somebody at the High Court to protect him.

This is the height of incompetence!

Soon, this controversy over the use of quo warranto as a means of ousting a chief justice will die down—unless the Supreme Court reverses itself. I doubt this will happen, though.

Another point I would like to emphasize is that the opposition is now taking advantage of the controversy to gain political mileage.

I can’t blame them—this is a good opportunity to do that. This is a democracy, after all. So, to all those claiming that this will lead to something else, you are seeing ghosts.

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It looks like new Toursim Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has hit the ground running when she told all undersecretaries and assistant secretaries to submit their courtesy resignations. She wants to start from a clean slate.

She should act quickly on the Cesar Montano case, however, who is facing questions about his Buhay Carinderia project. Montano reportedly paid one Linda Legaspi the full amount of P89 million even if the project was not yet complete.

The new secretary will also review all contracts entered into by her predecessor—a normal thing to do, since she would be the one implementing them. Puyat said she would cancel all contracts that did not go through public bidding.

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The opposition in the Senate, led by Liberal Party president Francis Pangilinan and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, are worried that there are no viable personalities who may challenge the administration’s senatorial candidates next year.

I can believe that. Really there has not been any name likely to win.

Reelectionists in the Senate are led by Senate President Koko Pimentel, and Senators Grace Poe, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay and JV Ejercito. A survey revealed them to be included in the Magic 12.

Only Senator Paulo Benigno Aquino of the opposition has made it to the Top 12.

Considering the fact that the Senate should have representatives of the opposition, the lack of viable candidates is tragic. We would always want the Senate to be a truly democratic and truly independent branch of government.

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The abolition of the Presidential Commission on Good Government and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, and their absorption into the Office of the Solicitor General, has passed the House of Representatives on final reading.

I have gone on record against the abolition of the PCGG given that its sole responsibility is to go after ill-gotten and unexplained wealth of the Marcoses. Abolition is not the answer. Instead, Congress should strengthen its functions to go after not only the Marcoses but also all public officials with unexplained wealth.

As for the OGCC, there is a contradiction of functions between it and the OSG. Thus it is illegal for the OSG to absorb the functions of the OGCC. Don’t our congressmen realize that? They must be dumb!

***

My family and I are taking a break this weekend to go to Baguio, not only recharge my batteries but escape the heat. The heat could be bad for someone with asthma like me.

Speaking of Baguio, the government should also rehabilitate the city in the wake of its efforts to rehabilitate Boracay. Baguio is deteriorating! The prime example is Burnham Park. Other former attractions have also become ugly.

The only place left where you can smell the pine trees is in Camp John Hay.

Topics: Supreme Court , Maria Lourdes Sereno , Francis Pangilinan , Presidential Commission on Good Government , Bernadette Romulo-Puyat
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