MANILA, Philippines - Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is saddened and disappointed over the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
House minority leader Danilo Suarez said, “I will be a hypocrite to say she’s happy. She’s somewhat sad and disappointed.”
Suarez, however, quickly clarified that Arroyo has more pressing concerns, like her health.
Arroyo’s allies are waiting for her latest medical bulletin following some tests at the Makati Medical Center recently.
”I think, considering her state now, she’s detained and [this is] adding up to her [health] problems. It's undeniable naman na it's life threatening…Mabuti sana kung after opening (surgery), naging successful, apparently it's not," he said.
Suarez said Arroyo is facing a string of cases like electoral sabotage and corruption allegations in the National Broadband Network-ZTE deal and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
When asked if Corona’s ouster would have any bearing on arroyo’s cases, Suarez noted that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, an appointee of the Aquino administration, downgraded one case against Arroyo.
Mrs. Arroyo picked Corona as chief justice in May 2010 during an election appointment ban. The Supreme Court (SC) later ruled the judiciary is exempted from the ban.
SC should now assert independence
Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay said that now that there will be a new chief justice, this is the time that the Supreme Court can assert its independence.
Magsaysay said now, the public must watch if the new court will reverse previous decisions adversarial to the administration.
Magsaysay said should the new court sustain previous decisions, it will show no one man can influence the court, which is a collegial body.
Magsaysay leaves it to the president if he will pick a Supreme Court insider or from outside for the new chief justice.
Senate no time for another impeachment
Meantime, Suarez expressed optimism that the Senate will quash the pending impeachment case against Associate Justice Mariano del Castillio should it be elevated to the Senate.
Suarez said with months of backlog in legislative work, the Senate cannot simply afford another impeachment case.
Magsaysay said they are monitoring if the Del Castillio impeachment will be put on the plenary agenda. It has hurdled the justice committee level.
Both Corona and Del Castillio are appointees of Arroyo.