FR. BERNAS’ COMMENTS “MISLEADING”: With due respect to Fr. Joaquin Bernas, it is highly misleading to say that the Supreme Court’s integrity and credibility will be undermined if its members are made to decide whether or not President Arroyo’s appointment of the next chief justice, to replace the retiring Reynato S. Puno, just a few days before her terms ends, is legal or Constitutional.
For one, it is the duty and responsibility, both under the Constitution and the laws, as well as under established jurisprudence which the court itself has already issued previously, to decide questions of law properly presented for its resolution. How can doing its duty then undermine the integrity and credibility of the Supreme Court?
For another, the issue of whether or not a President or Chief Executive whose term is ending can still appoint the next chief justice is a case of first impression, a novel issue as it were, which must be resolved by the Court by itself. Doing its duty to resolve this novel issue will in fact strengthen the high court’s role as the sole arbiter of all legal disputes all the more.
Finally, there is really no legal prohibition against President Arroyo appointing the next chief justice after Puno retires on May 17, 2010, even if that is just about forty four days from her own “retirement”, considering the interplay of Section 4 and Section 9, Article VIII of the Constitution.
NO LEGAL PROHIBITION VS. PGMA APPOINTING THE NEXT SC CJ: Why am I saying that there is no legal prohibition against President Arroyo’s appointing the next chief justice, on the basis of Sections 4 and 9? Well, one merely has to read the two provisions and you will see what I mean.
First, Section 4 requires that any vacancy in the Supreme Court shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof. We must understand that this is a mandatory provision, requiring the appointment under any and all circumstances, because it uses the word “shall”.
Second, while Section 9 says that the members of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy, it is quite clear that the requirement of a JBC list applies only to the “members”---not the chief justice---of the high tribunal.
If it was intention of the framers of the 1987 Constitution to limit, as it were, the power of the President to appoint the chief justice of the Supreme Court only to the nominees contained in the list from the JBC, Section 9 should have so clearly, by including there not only the “members” of the Court but even its “chief”.
That Section 9 limited only to the “members” of the Supreme Court the requirement of a JBC list clearly indicates the intent of the Constitution’s framers---only the members, not the chief, must be appointed from a list submitted by the JBC.
CARRYING OF THE CROSS: All of Christendom are aware that before Jesus was crucified, His tormentors greatly increased His suffering by compelling Him to carry the cross with which He will be crucified.
This part of Jesus’ life is called “Carrying of the Cross” and it is now the fourth mystery in the “Sorrowful Mysteries” of the Holy Rosary of Roman Catholic Christians. An account of it could be found in all the Gospels: Matthew 27:31-35, Mark 15:20-22, Luke 23:28-31 and John19:17.
Again, the rendering of the event by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is relatively short and direct to the point.
What one sees is merely the act of the soldiers leading Jesus away from Pilate, ordering Him to carry the cross, and, along the way, compelling Simon from Cyrene to carry the cross, too.
In Luke, however, one notices the fact that while Jesus was carrying the cross, there were “a large number of people” following Him, including women who mourned and wailed for Him.
When Jesus saw the mourners, He told them not to mourn for Him but that they should mourn for themselves instead, for a time was coming to them when they will wish that they were not born at all, in view of the grievousness of their sin against Him.
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