The last hope of decent Filipinos that this administration will heed popular clamor for Mrs. Arroyo not to exercise her powers of appointing the next Chief Justice will definitely end today.
Sources say that most of the justices favor Mrs. Arroyo appointing the next Chief Justice even before the retirement of Chief Justice Reynato Puno, even during the prohibited period of appointments. Puno is set to retire by May 17.
Under the law, government is barred from appointing anybody to any government office during the election period. This has been the practice since Day One of this Republic.
Mrs. Arroyo has intimated her desire to exercise her powers of appointing the next Chief Justice, even without the list submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council. Traditionally, the Judicial and Bar Council is the one responsible for submission of names to be considered by the President as candidates for the Highest Tribunal.
Based on jurisprudence, government is barred from exercising midnight appointments. Under the law, Mrs. Arroyo is barred from appointing any candidate ninety days before the expected date of elections.
This issue, if the Supreme Court decides in favor of Mrs. Arroyo's appointing power, is a question of equality under the Law and Justice.
Mrs. Arroyo has already appointed the new Armed Forces Chief of Staff despite public protestations against him and even appointed a New Chief of the Army, violating the very concept of respecting the chain of command.
How then will we explain these events to our children?