MANILA, Philippines?By appointing Justice Renato Corona as Chief Justice Reynato Puno?s successor when he retires from the Supreme Court on May 17, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is providing a "casus belli? for Senator Benigno "Noynoy? Aquino III, who only needs an official proclamation by Congress as the country?s next President, an opposition senator said Wednesday.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. recalled on Wednesday that Aquino has said he would not honor any midnight appointments to be made by Arroyo before her term ends on June 30.
And by announcing her choice of Renato Corona as the next chief justice, Pimentel said, Arroyo "in effect is daring Aquino to do what he said he would do.?
"She is providing a casus belli for Aquino,? he said in a phone interview.
Pimentel said Arroyo's appointment of the next chief justice "adds confusion and anxiety? which he stressed was something "we don't need now, especially after the generally peaceful and orderly automated elections.?
Pimentel joined Senator Francis Pangilinan and former Senate President Franklin Drilon in slamming Arroyo's naming of Puno?s successor which they all said she should have left to the incoming president.
Both Pimentel and Drilon made it clear that their objection was not over the qualifications of Corona but the outgoing President?s insistence on making the appointment.
Pimentel said there was still no vacancy because Chief Justice Reynato Puno was set to retire on May 17 and thus, the President should have ?not anticipate? the vacancy.
?Therefore, prudence should have dictated the choice of the new CJ should be left to the incoming President,? Pimentel said.
Both Drilon and Pangilinan agreed that Arroyo should have not made the appointment "out of delicadeza? and "out of respect? for her successor.
Drilon said while he did not agree?although he respected it?with the Supreme Court ruling allowing the President to appoint a replacement for Puno, Arroyo should have not exercised such prerogative.
?The most ideal (move) would be to allow Senator Noynoy to appoint the CJ,? Drilon said in a phone interview.
In a text message, Pangilinan said that Arroyo should have not made the appointment considering that she had only six weeks to go before stepping down from power and new President would have been elected by the time Puno retires on May 17.
"Ms Arroyo should have, out of delicadeza, allowed the next President to make the appointment. Sadly, it appears there is no such thing as a sense of propriety when it comes to her political survival,? Pangilinan said.