Sunday, January 29, 2017

‘Ultramajority’ Duterte Supreme Court looms | Inquirer Opinion

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‘Ultramajority’ Duterte SC looms
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:04 AM January 28, 2017

In his letter, George del Mar wrote about a “supermajority” of 10 justices appointed by President Duterte by 2019 (“SC in Duterte’s pocket,” Opinion, 1/18/17). Actually, two more are up for appointment by him until 2022 (assuming he finishes his term). That’s 12 Duterte stand-ins in all out of the 15—an ultramajority. Indeed, what kind of “magistrates” are we to expect him to pack that Supreme Court with? Thinkers as wishy-washy and namby-pamby as he can make them.

Sample: When then presidential candidate Duterte was asked by then also presidential aspirant Mar Roxas to reveal the true condition of his health, he riposted that he (Roxas) show first that he was “circumcised.” That reminded us of the literally “below-the-belt,” gutter politics in Cebu a long time ago: Ingon nila pisot pa kuno ko sa politika. Hoy, pangutan-a ang inyong mga asawa kung pisot ba gyud ko”! (They say I’m uncircumcised [green horn and know nothing about politics]. They should ask their wives if that’s true!)

Duterte’s rah-rah boys were quick to explain he did not mean that Roxas was “supot”—just not “cut-out” for the presidency. And when, even as president already, he bragged that he was spanking the butts of women, they spun it around as if there was really nothing to it—their boss was just being “playful that’s all.” So, that’s the kind of twisted minds the Filipino people will have to deal with, presiding in the high court over their lives and fortunes. No sense of shame or delicadeza whatsoever.

But that’s not the scariest part. There is little doubt Duterte will be held accountable for his criminal excesses as soon as he steps down and sheds his executive immunity. What better way to insure his own protection and that of his trigger-happy minions than getting friendly flunkies in their 40s appointed to the Supreme Court who will be there to stay until they reach 70? Duterte has made no secret about his exclusive preference for sycophants to occupy sinecures under his watch.

Often enough, we have seen warrants of arrest being held in abeyance via petitions for “judicial determination of probable cause” which eventually wind up in the Supreme Court for a final say on whether or not the accused should be set free. The case of Sen. Ping Lacson was classic and precedent-setting: The warrants for his arrest on nonbailable murder charges in 2010 were rendered inutile by the Court of Appeals which found “no probable cause” to hold him for trial. Now imagine Duterte and his gunslingers before the new Supreme Court. . .

Get the picture?


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