CODAL on the New Chief Justice

The Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL) suggested that newly appointed Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban should inhibit himself in cases arising from the current political crisis, such as the petitions on Executive Orders 420 and 464, Batas Pambansa 880 and the CPR, the motion for reconsideration on the Arroyo’s impeachment case, and Virgilio Garcillano’s petition for ‘declaratory relief.’ Its members say since Gloria Arroyo violated the seniority rule when she appointed Panganiban, he now owes his position to Garci’s phone pal.

CODAL further says given Arroyo’s recent actions that would ensure her political survival, “it is not surprising if the public will perceive her appointment of CJ Panganiban as a part of her scheme to stay in power.”

Below is the full text of the statement of the CODAL on Chief Justice Panganiban’s appointment:


(22 December 2005)

Under the current political crisis, the rule in the appointment of the Supreme Court Chief Justice should have been: less intervention from Pres. Gloria Arroyo, a party to many cases pending before the Supreme Court. The person who appointed Comm. Virgilio Garcillano to the COMELEC despite his record, should have withheld the exercise of her constitutional prerogative and followed the seniority rule in appointing the next Chief Justice. CODAL believes that unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary, the seniority rule must be followed, otherwise, the Court’s and the Chief Justice’s independence and integrity are imperiled. In this case, bypassing Justice Reynato Puno for no apparent reason except, as Malacanang admits, to give Justice Panganiban a chance to be Chief Justice for 11 months does not constitute compelling reasons.

The problem with not following seniority rule is that it makes those vying for the Chief Justice position owe Pres. Arroyo a favor. A Chief Justice, should not be made to lobby for his or her appointment. Due to current crisis, Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban has to inhibit himself from controversial cases involving Pres. Arroyo, in her personal and official capacity, particularly petitions on EO 464, BP 880 and the CPR, the motion for reconsideration on the impeachment case, the Garcillano petition for ‘declaratory relief’ and EO 420 on the ID system if only to help assure people of the integrity of any decision on these issues. The list will include possible petitions related to the amendment of the Constitution—a subject that goes into Pres. Arroyo’s term of office, and other controversial issues that will arise from the current political crisis. Any SC decision favoring Pres. Arroyo on these issues, whether legally sound or not, will always lack credibility and respect. CJ Panganiban may well become the most ‘inhibited’ Chief Justice in Supreme Court history.

Justice Panganiban has written some very important decisions that are deemed anti-people. This was exemplified in the mining act case where, due to his publicly admitted lobbying on fellow justices, rules were bent (the SC allowed the intervention of the mining industry after judgment has been rendered even if the rules allow intervention only before judgment, allowed oral arguments on a motion for reconsideration and allowed retired Justice Feliciano to represent the mining industry even if he was the very amicus curiae proposed by Justice Panganiban). CJ Panganiban’s decision in the Mining Act petition will be an albatross on his neck during his one year term. Pres. Arroyo’s appointment of CJ Panganiban, in violation of the seniority rule, will not ease the political crisis but may in fact make its resolution harder to achieve. In a crisis where both the Executive and the Legislative departments are losing credibility, imperiling the Supreme Court’s integrity and independence only exacerbates the political crisis plaguing the country today. Pres. Arroyo’s major decisions and actions recently were mainly based on ensuring her political survival. It is not surprising if the public will perceive her appointment of CJ Panganiban as a part of her scheme to stay in power.

Reference : Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares

COUNSELS for the Defense of LIBERTIES
4th F KAIJA Bldg.
7836 Makati Ave.
cor. Valdez St.,
Makati City,
Tel. No. 9213473 or 09179505640
E-mail Address:



Atty. Florisa Almodiel
Prof. Victoria Avena
Comm. Remedios Balbin
Atty. Hubert Bustos
Atty. Emilio Capulong, Jr.
Atty. Neri Colmenares
Atty. Charmaine de la Cruz
Atty. Edwin dela Cruz
Atty. Cora Fabros
Atty. Gregorio Fabros
Atty. Alnie Fojas
Atty. Bobby Figueroa
Atty. Ingrid Gorre
Prof. Marvic Leonen
Atty. Bernie Luceres
Atty. Nenita Mahinay
Comm. Nasser Marohomsalic
Atty. Noel Neri
Atty. Edre Olalia
Atty. Julian Oliva, Jr.
Atty. Richard Pascual
Atty. Jobert Pahilga
Atty. Rachel Pastores
Atty. Ma. Luz Rañeses-Raval
Atty. Amelyn Sato
Atty. Ana Siscar
Judge Cleto Villacorta
Judge Freddie Ampuan

Law Students:
Ms. Jo Abaya (Ateneo)
Ms. Cherryl Aguilar (UST)
Mr. Julius Matibay (Arellano)
Ms. Shirley Nuevo (San Beda)
Ms. Jill Santos (UP)
Mr. Jonell Torregosa (Arrellano)

Mr. Daniel Javier
Mr. Cesar Arellano

Prof. Victoria Avena
Comm. Remedios Balbin
Atty. Florisa Almodiel
Atty. Rachel Pastores
Atty. Neri Colmenares

Atty. Edre Olalia
International Affairs

Ms. Jill Santos
Linkperson for Law Students

Counsels for the Defense of Liberties

One Reply to “CODAL on the New Chief Justice”

  1. Atty. Pastores. I’m trying to find a High school friend. Her name is Rachel Fabros. I believe she was in Law School when I left the Philippines. Please respond just yes or no if you’re middle name is Fabros.
    I’d appreciate a response. Thank you.

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