Today on Rappler.
- Former president Gloria Arroyo walks free after posting a one-million peso bail.
- JBC candidates say the Supreme Court is “wounded’ after the impeachment of Renato Corona.
- The London 2012 Summer Olympics kicks off this Friday, July 27.
Story 1: ARROYO RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL DETENTION
Former President Gloria Arroyo walks free from hospital detention after posting a 1-million peso bail.
Wearing a neck brace, she leaves her hospital suite and walks to a waiting vehicle.
Mrs Arroyo was arrested 8 months ago, in November 2011 after the Commission on Elections filed an electoral sabotage case against her over the 2007 senatorial race.
On Wednesday, the Pasay court grants Mrs Arroyo’s motion for bail, saying the Comelec’s evidence against her is weak.
Mrs Arroyo arrives in her house in La Vista, Quezon City, shortly after 3 pm.
Pasay City Court judge Jesus Mupas signs the release order for the former President and now Pampanga representative.
But the Sandiganbayan questions the release of Mrs Arroyo.
Spokesperson Renato Bocar says the court’s legal division says Arroyo cannot be released pending the plunder case filed against her.
Plunder is an non-bailable offense.
A hold departure order was issued July 24 barring Arroyo from leaving the country based on the plunder case.
Arroyo lawyer Raul Lambino says Arroyo is obviously in good spirits, and he adds, they have not lost hope she will remain free.
RAUL LAMBINO, ARROYO COUNSEL: Nakita naman natin ‘nung binuksan n’ya pintuan ng coaster. Ngumiti s’ya, kumaway sa well wishers at media.
Q: Gaano katagal ang freedom? A: Depende. Hindi bababa 2 weeks ang proseso.
Q: Short freedom? I don’t know. Depends. Ombudsman can say mali sila. Baka ma-dismiss. Hope springs eternal.
Story 2: ABAD: SUPREME COURT NOW A ‘WOUNDED COURT’
On day 2 of the JBC interviews, Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad says the High Tribunal is now a “wounded court” after the removal from office of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
ROBERTO ABAD: We have a wounded court. After the impeachment trial we were taken aback… it discouraged most of us. If I become chief justice, first thing to do is to forgive. You can’t have healing unless there’s forgiveness. And we can reconcile.
Abad, the oldest justice in the Supreme Court, will retire in two years when he reaches the mandatory age of 70.
He reiterates an insider should be appointed Chief Justice to spark qoute-”renewal” within the judiciary.
ROBERTO ABAD: Basta mas mabuti atang taga-loob, kung taga-loob, magkakaroon ng renewal within; if the president appoints an outsider, nasugatan na nga ang Korte Suprema, parang isinubsob mo pa sa lupa.
NIEL TUPAS: Again, again kung sa labas kukuha–
ABAD: Kung sa labas parang you don’t trust the judiciary.
If President Aquino appoints an outsider as chief justice, Abad says this involves “a lot of risk” apparently referring to President Aquino’s reported choice for the post, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who is only 52 years old.
ROBERTO ABAD: “If the President appoints an untested outsider who will serve 18 to 20 years, it’s a lot of risk. If later on he turns out to be mediocre, a show-off, lazy, ineffective, then he has to commit an impeachable offense. You would have bound the country for 20 years.”
Abad says if he becomes chief justice his goal will be reconciliation between the judiciary and the legislative.
He tells JBC member Niel Tupas, chief prosecutor during the Corona impeachment trial, “We will forgive the legislative. You will also forgive us.”
He laments the fate of the former Chief Justice whom he calls a friend.
Abad also denies there are cliques within the 15-member Supreme Court.
Abad was appointed to the Court by former President Gloria Arroyo in 2009.
To prove his independence, he claims he took a position against her on the issue of the Truth Commission, a probe body on the Arroyo administration that the SC declared unconstitutional.
Story 3: MORALES: REFORM IS PROVIDING SPEEDY JUSTICE
Top law firm managing partner Rafael Morales says the real objective of judicial reform is to provide speedy justice to the people.
He says he wants to see the “entire action reform to be implemented, especially in matters of case decongestion.”
Morales is referring to the Action Program for Judicial Reform initiated by former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr.
Morales says the lack of court workers is the main reason for the delays in court decisions.
RAFAEL MORALES, SYCIP LAW, MANAGING PARTNER: I think speedy disposition of cases is a must so that the people’s confidence in the justice system will be restored. First of all, I would see to it that the vacancies would be filled up, secondly I think that we have to strengthen the research staff, we should employ more researchers.
Morales suggests an “upward adjustment of salaries of judges” to attract more applicants and “further enhance” the independence of the judiciary.
On the impeachment of dismissed chief justice Renato Corona, Morales says the process eroded the Supreme Court’s credibility.
He says “It is time to restore that credibility, and the first step the President should do is appoint an outsider.”
MORALES: I have the requisite competence, integrity, probity and independence. As I said earlier, the cornerstone of the practice in my firm is integrity and excellence…We are an apolitical firm and we do not subscribe to political connections in the pursuit of our legal profession. And I’ll be bringing with me no baggages with me, no strings attached if I become the chief justice of the Supreme Court.
Story 4: PANGALANGAN: IT’S TIME TO REVIEW THE CONSTITUTION
Former University of the Philippines Law School dean Raul Pangalangan tells the Judicial and Bar Council, it’s time to review the Constitution.
RAUL PANGALANGAN, FORMER UP LAW DEAN: It is now 25 years since 1987 constitution, that is long enough for us to look at whether this judicial aggrandizement has served the country; it has not.
He says the most urgent task of the next chief justice is “consolidating the institution” after the “traumatic” process which removed the former chief justice.
But he says the Corona trial allowed outsiders to be considered for the position.
If appointed, Pangalangan says his legacy would be both administrative and judicial.
Story 5: BRION: WHISTLE BLOWING TO FIGHT CORRUPTION
Associate Justice Arturo Brion admits graft and corruption exist in the judiciary.
Asked how he would fight corruption, Brion says he will enact a whistle blowing rule.
Brion says the public perceives the courts as corrupt, especially after the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
To counter this perception, Brion says transparency and accountability are key.
BRION: Accountability is a constitutional mandate; but it’s a question of complying; we have been taking steps along these lines and as a court; the day after the decision in the impeachment trial I phoned Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, ipadadala ko na sa iyo ang waiver ko, bahala ka na; transparency’s day has come.
Story 6: SARMIENTO: LIMIT CHARTER CHANGE TO ECONOMIC PROVISIONS
Commission on Elections Commissioner Rene Sarmiento says he is open to charter change limited to economic provisions.
He says he favors a constituent assembly as a means to amend the Constitution.
Story 7: SIAYNGCO: I DREAM OF ENTERING JUDICIARY AGAIN
Retired judge Manuel Siayngco tells the JBC, he dreams of serving in the judiciary again.
Asked why he opted for early retirement, he admits he-quote- “stopped dreaming”.
MANUAL SIAYNGCO, RETIRED JUDGE: I was a judge before in Malolos…I opted to take the benefit of early retirement at 62 because I stopped dreaming, I stopped dreaming of promotion. And I felt I had done enough in the regional trial court. I am dreaming again of entering judiciary at a time after impeachment proceedings and high expectations of people.
Siayngco, a former regional trial court judge in Bulacan, was asked how lower court judges feel.
He says they are unfairly stereotyped as ‘hoodlums in robes.’
He adds, there is no merit system in place to encourage lower court judges to take higher positions.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 4, fears that Germany will lose its triple AAA credit status creates uncertainty among Germans.
While politicians and economists are quick to downplay Moody’s negative outlook, Germans blame the government for footing Greece’s bailout package.
Germany is one of the strongest economies in the eurozone and it stepped in to handle the bailout packages of ailing Greece.
Politicians in Berlin are confident the economy remains strong.
At number 7, A Roman Catholic church official in Philadelphia was sentenced to 3-6 years in prison.
The priest was convicted of covering up sex abuses by priests under his supervision. Convicted on 1 count of endangering a child, the sentence makes Msgr. William Lynn the most senior Catholic official in the US to be convicted over incidents of sex abuse.
Lawyers for the 61-year-old priest appeal for a reduced sentence but prosecutors are pushing for the maximum penalty.
At number 8, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak publicly apologizes for a corruption scandal involving his older brother on national television.
The President’s older brother was arrested on allegations that he received half a million dollars from bank officials seeking political influence.
A probe is looking into whether the money was used for Lee’s 2007 political campaign.
Lee says he believed he was dealing with clean politics.
He adds “my whole world seemed to be collapsing as regrettable incidents occurred to people closest to me. I can barely hold my head up.”
At number 9, Police recover more than 30 homemade grenades in the home of James Holmes, the suspect in last week’s Colorado movie theater shooting.
Holmes boobytrapped his apartment with the grenades and about 10 gallons of gasoline.
12 people were killed and 58 other were wounded when Holmes opened fire during a screening of the movie The Dark Knight Rises.
Holmes, who has identified himself to authorities as “The Joker” appeared in court for the first time on Monday, July 23.
And at number 10, a recent study shows that all Filipinos are mestizo.
According to research by Spanish biologist Antonio Gonzalez-Martin, a majority of Filipinos today come from populations that migrated from China and Taiwan, with 25% of Malay ancestry.
The biologist adds that there is no such thing as 50% Filipino and 50% something else, because we are all of a mix of the same genes.
Story 9: LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS KICKS OFF FRIDAY
The London 2012 Summer Olympics kicks off at 4pm in London, 11pm Manila time.
The British women’s football team faces off with New Zealand to jump start the 18-day event, two days before the opening ceremony on Friday, July 27.
Rappler launches its own microsite for the Games that wraps up the top 5 stories of the day, gathers updates on the Philippine team, and features photos and blogs.