Rappler Newscast | June 1, 2012

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President Aquino says he may appoint an outsider as Chief Justice. | Senator Kiko Pangilinan says the Judicial and Bar Council should find Chief Justice candidates from the academe and the private sector. | Is the SALN waiver enough to investigate an erring public official, as President Aquino claims? Rappler investigates.

Today on Rappler.

  • President Aquino says he may appoint an outsider as Chief Justice. 
  • Senator Kiko Pangilinan says the Judicial and Bar Council should find Chief Justice candidates from the academe and the private sector.

     

SEN. KIKO PANGILINAN: JBC should draw as wide a net as possible. Yes traditionally, you draw from the judiciary, but you can also draw from the private sector, from the academe. 

  • And, is the SALN waiver enough to investigate an erring public official, as President Aquino claims? Rappler investigates.

 

Story 1: PNOY ON CJ

The first immediate question – who will be the next chief justice?

President Benigno Aquino rules out Tax Commissioner Kim Henares, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza as the next Chief Magistrate.

The names of the three cabinet officials have been mentioned as possible replacements for Corona.

Aquino tells Rappler that they are quote “doing well where they are now.”

In the case of Jardeleza, the President says he has just moved to the Office of Solicitor General after serving for less than a year as deputy ombudsman for Luzon. Aquino says he will not be able to work effectively if he is uprooted again. The president says there is a distinct possibility he’ll appoint an outsider. He adds, the wait may not last till August because he may reach a decision by July.

PRESIDENT AQUINO: Kung sigurado na ko sa choice…I don’t see the purposeI’m not gonna maximize the 90 days but the end of the day, like any decision that I’ve made, I can face the people and say, given what I have…the information the universe of choices, etcetera. I believe this is the best decision for us. 

 

Story 2: PNOY ON WAIVER

At the height of his presidential campaign in February 2010, then Senator Aquino said that if elected he was willing to waive his rights under the bank secrecy law  “to set an example for others in this administration.”

His statement remains on the Senate website. Two years later, President Aquino goes back on his campaign promise and maintains the waiver he signed in his SALN form is enough.

The President Is responding to a challenge by impeached Chief Justice Corona, who waived the confidentiality of all his accounts, presumably in the name of transparency. But Rappler reporter Carmela Fonbuena says the Corona trial shows the SALN is an incomplete waiver. The SALN waiver allows the Ombudsman to use government agencies to verify if SALN declarations of government officials are accurate. The Ombudsman can only get bank records of government officials from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC)—a government agency. But the SALN waiver cannot go to the banks, which are commercial institutions. This is why the Ombudsman found it difficult to determine the ending balances of Corona’s bank accounts.

 

Story 3: CJ SHOULD BE EVERYTHING CORONA ISN’T- VITUG 

Shadow of Doubt author Marites Vitug says the impeachment trial has quote done us a big favor. She says it’s made it easy to identify the qualities the next Chief Justice should possess — everything Renato Corona isn’t.

She lists down 10 qualities. Here are 4 of them.

A leader who will open up the financial books of the Supreme Court for scrutiny. A leader who will reform the judiciary and use loans meant for reform projects productively and not for PR. Someone who decides cases fairly and not out of loyalty to the appointing power. A person who avoids getting entangled in conflict-of-interest situations. Read the full 10 on Rappler.com’s Thought Leaders Section: Choosing a chief justice.

 

Story 4: KIKO ON CJ SELECTION

Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan says the Judicial and Bar Council should cast a wide net to look for the next Chief Justice. He says even candidates from outside the judiciary should be considered. He adds the next Chief Justice should have the stamina to lead the way in judicial reforms.

PANGILINAN: JBC should draw as wide a net as possible. Yes traditionally, you draw from the judiciary, but you can also draw from the private sector, from the academe. I’d like to see the best and the brightest in that list. And from that list, choose the best of the best and the brightest of the brightest. And of course, those with integrity and solid track record.We still have a long way to go.

For example, the conviction rate in the judiciary is not even 20%. Compare that to the conviction rate in Hongkong for corruption, for example, would be around 80%. Today you have 25% of the positions of the judges vacant. The prosecution service, I’m not sure if it’s down, but when I sat in as late as maybe 2 years ago. The fiscal’s office, the prosecutor’s office, the vacancy was around 40%. Criminal cases suffered delays. Precisely because you don’t have the prosecution service available. No criminal case can proceed without the presence of a prosecutor, public prosecutor. And at the same time the absence of  judges and courts. The average case life is 6 years… and that’s in the first level court, and then you have appeal, the appeal. And it will take forever. 

Who will have any respect for our justice system if you don’t punish enough of the guilty?

 

Story 5: AIRLINES HIT CAB

Budget carriers threaten to hike airfares following orders by the Civil Aeronautics Board to fine local airlines who overbook and refuse to refund and rebook. Local carriers AirAsia and SEAir are vocal in contesting the Aeronautics Board’s orders. AirAsia CEO Maan Hontiveros says the ruling jeopardizes the budget airline model if airlines are compelled to refund or rebook even if it’s the passengers fault. She asks, Where is the passenger responsibility there?

 

Story 6: THE wRap

Let’s now look at Rappler’s “wRap” for today…

a list of the ten most important events around the world you shouldn’t miss. 

At number 4, after more than 3 decades, Egypt’s state of emergency is finally lifted. Activists have been pushing to do this since Hosni Mubarak was ousted by an 18-day revolt led by a youth democracy movement. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces takes over the reigns of government. Egypt is preparing for a run-off vote in presidential elections on June 16.

At number 5, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Russia’s refusal to take decisive action against Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad could lead to a civil war in Syria. Clinton says Russia has shown little willingness to abandon Assad and is -quote- “propping up the regime at a time when we should be working on a political transition.”  Both Russia and China oppose tougher UN Security Council action against Syria. 

At number 7, In 4 billion years, our galaxy could crash head-on with Andromeda, our nearest neighbor. US space agency NASA says “extraordinary precise observations” from their Hubble Space telescope “remove any doubt that the galaxy Andromeda is destined to collide and merge with the Milky Way.”  It will take another 2 billion years for the two “to completely merge into a single elliptical galaxy.” 

At number 8, European researchers say a combination of spinal cord stimulation and robotic-aided therapy motivates paralyzed rats to learn to walk again. The therapy combines an electrical-chemical stimulation of the spinal cord, mimicking the signals the brain would normally send to initiate movement in the limbs. It also involves the use of a rehabilitation device that helps the rats stay upright.  If this therapy can help paralyzed rats walk, can humans be far behind?

And at number 9, CNN posts its worst month in primetime viewership in more than two decades. Fox News draws over 1.6 million viewers, while MSNBC draws an average of 674,000 viewers. In comparison, CNN records just over 300,000 primetime viewers from April 30 to May 27. 

For the full top ten, visit Rappler.com’s ‘the wRap’

 

Story 7: ‘AMBO’ TO BRING RAIN

PAGASA raises storm signal no. 1 in 6 areas as ‘Ambo’ intensifies into a tropical storm. The areas affected are Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Polilio Island, Aurora, and Isabela.The weather bureau alerts residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under the storm signal against possible flash floods and landslides. 

Rappler.com

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