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Overseas Filipinos Against Gloria Arroyo's SC Midnight Appointment Launches Worldwide Manifesto!

MANIFESTO AGAINST THE PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISION UNDER G.R. NOS. 191002, 191032, 191057, 191149, 191342, 191420 AND A.M. NO. 10-2-5-SC

We, Overseas Filipinos, promoting social justice, human rights, unity, solidarity, professionalism, and strongly value the essence of peace, liberty, justice, equality, respect for dignity and principles that bind us together far beyond ideology and political color, call on the Philippine Government to hear our voices for we contribute in no small way to the Philippine economy through our dollar remittances to our families, relatives, and friends. Furthermore, Overseas Filipinos make their presence felt in Philippine society through organized medical missions, assistance projects, charities, and investments.

Therefore, we commit,

On March 26, 2010 , all the parties listed below, agree to submit this Manifesto to the Supreme Court of the Philippines in regard to its latest decision allowing President Arroyo to appoint a Chief Justice after the retirement of Chief Justice Reynato Puno on May 17, 2010 .

This Supreme Court decision has not considered the following:

That there is no exigency in the appointment of a permanent Chief Justice after the retirement of Chief Justice Puno. As a matter of practice in the United States of America and in the Philippines, the duties of the Chief Justice are carried out by the most senior associate justice, who is able to act, until the vacancy ends. There have been instances in the High Tribunal’s history when it has been without a permanent Chief Justice. SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES : Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano retired on April 1, 1920 and succeeded by Victorino Mapa on July 1, 1920 ; Chief Justice Manuel Araullo retired on July 26, 1924 and Ramon Avanceña succeeded him on April 1, 1925 ; Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion retired on April 18,1973 , and Querube Macalintal succeeded him on October 21, 1973 . Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro retired on April 19, 1979 , and Enrique Fernando succeeded him on July 2, 1979 .

U.S.A. SUPREME COURT: Chief Justice John Rutledge retired on December 28, 1795 and was succeeded by Oliver Ellsworth on March 8, 1796; Chief Justice Ellsworth retired on December 15,1800 and John Marshall succeeded him on February 4, 1801; Chief Justice Marshall retired on July 6, 1935 and was succeeded by Roger Brooke Taney on March 28, 1936; Chief Justice Taney retired on October 12, 1864 and was succeeded by Salmon Portland Chase on December 15, 1864; Chief Justice Chase retired on May 7,1873 and was succeeded by Morrison Remick Waite on March 4, 1874; Chief Justice Waite retired on March 23, 1888 and was succeeded by Melville Weston Fuller on October 8, 1888; Chief Justice Fuller retired on July 4, 1910 and was succeeded by Edward Douglass White on December 10, 1910; Chief Justice White retired on May 19, 1921 and was succeeded by William Howard Taft on July 11, 1921; Chief Justice Frederick Moore Vinson retired on September 8, 1953 and was succeeded by Earl Warren on October 5, 1953. These were examples of events when both the Supreme Court of the Philippines and the United States of America were headed by Acting Chief Justices before the appointment of a Chief Justice. There is no point to the argument that a vacancy in the Office of the Chief Justice can be dangerous even for a day as claimed by Congessman Matias Defensor, member of the Judicial Bar Council. The Chief Justice vote is just one vote of the fifteen (15) justices in the Supreme Court and a quorum requires eight (8) justices. Problems that may arise on the May 10, 2010 election do not necessarily need the immediate attention of the Supreme Court.

That Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code bans the appointment of any head, official or appointing officer of a government office or agency. The Chief Justice is covered by this law because he is considered head and an appointing officer of the Supreme Court.

That from March 10, 2010 to June 30, 2010 , President Arroyo has no power to appoint the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and that May 17, 2010 falls within the prohibited period. It is an absolute ban for the President to appoint, including the Chief Justice. The Philippine Constitution is clear that the prohibition is general without exceptions of the Chief Justice and the judiciary. President Arroyo cannot make any appointment until the end of her term on June 30, 2010 except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.

That by May 17, 2010 , there may already be a president-elect and the proclamation may be held earlier if the losing candidate concedes.

That a political crisis may arise if the elected president on May 10, 2010 will question the appointment of a Chief Justice by President Arroyo.

That the Constitutional Commission (Con Com) that drafted the 1987 Philippine Constitution finding that the establishment of the Judicial Bar Council (JBC) is not enough to safeguard judicial appointments from politization provided a comprehensive ban on midnight appointments including the judiciary. The clear intent of the framers of the Philippine Constitution is, thus far, for the ban on midnight appointments to apply to the judiciary. Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., one of the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution opined that Sections 4 (1) and 9 of Article VIII of the Philippine Constitution simply means that the President is required to fill vacancies in the Courts within the time frames provided therein unless prohibited by Section 15 of Article VII of the Philippine Constitution. This provision (Section 15, Article VII ) expressly provides: Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.

With all the statements mentioned above, we declare the following:

We reaffirm our reliance on the Constitution as the fundamental law of the land, and we pledge ourselves to use all lawful means to bring about a reversal of this decision of the Supreme Court which is contrary to the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

This unwarranted exercise of power by the Supreme Court, contrary to the Philippine Constitution, will create a political crisis.

President Arroyo, a transition President, should concentrate at this time of her presidency in drawing out plans on what her administration will do during this transition.

Based on the above reasons, we, therefore, state the following in the strongest terms:

We criticize this decision that is taken in clear violation of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

We are outraged by the fact that it is creating a bad precedent for a transition president to exercise the appointment of the Chief Justice, a very critical issue.

We demand that the Supreme Court of the Philippines takes into consideration public opinion and reverse its decision to uphold the majesty of constitutional and legal processes.

We call on President Gloria M. Arroyo to do what is right by refraining from the appointment of a Chief Justice to succeed Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

Partial List of signatories:

From U.S.A

1.Walfrido A. Reyes 649 Realitos Drive, La Verne, CA 91750
2. Maryrose F. Reyes 649 Realitos Drive, La Verne, CA 91750
3.Walfrido F. Reyes, Jr. 649 Realitos Drive, La Verne, CA 91750
4.Guila Maramba Los Angeles, California, USA
5. Herbert Wenceslao Norwalk, California
6.Francisco C. Wenceslao Norwalk, California
7.Zenaida J. Wenceslao Norwalk, California
8.Bobby Mouldong San Diego, California
9.Arsenio Jimenez San Diego, California
10..Delfin Amorsolo San Diego, California
11. Joel Arellaga San Diego, California
12. Ricardo Espino San Diego, California
13. Ely Espino San Diego, California
14. Rocio Nuyda, 8001 Jamieson Avenue, Reseda CA 91335
15. Lina Romasanta San Francisco, CA 94133
16. Radames Abarrientos 392 Morton Drive, Daly City, CA 94015
17. Mae Agawin 4330 Park Terrace Drive, Westlake Village, CA 91361
18. Santi Silverio National City, California
19. Flaviano Abalos, Jr. National City, California
20. Totoy Santillan National City, California
21 & 22 Bart & Yoly Tubalinal Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
23. Marlon Pecson Illnois, Chicago
24. Philip S. Chua, MD Vista Butte, Las Vegas, NV 89134
25. Farida I. Chua, MD Vista Butte, Las Vegas, NV 89134
26. Nanette D. Alcaro 2671 Vista del Sol, Las Vegas, NV 89120
27. Joey A. Golez Texas
28. Gus Mercado 8315 Navisota Drive, Lantana, Texas 76226
29. Celia Pangilinan-Donahue 2126 North Oakland Street, Arlington, VA 22207.
30. Nony E. Abrajano 972 Aspen Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
31. Norma Rubio 1140 Treefern Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23451
32.Mitzi Pickard 9631 Lindenbrook Street, Fairfax, VA 22031
33. Linda Limcaco 52 Hemlock Dr.Blackwood, NJ 08012
34. Herbert Magtoto 55 Rose Terrace, Cedar Grove, NJ 070009
35. Felicidad B. Magtoto 55 Rose Terrace, Cedar Grove, NJ 07009
36. & 37. Dr. Monte & Mrs. Hill Northern Carolina
38.. Alan C. Geoghegan Columbia, South Carolina, 29205 USA
39 Angie Cruz, Ph D 36 West 22nd St., New York, NY 10010
40. Jennifer Fernan, New York City, NY.
41. Loida Nicolas Lewis New York City, NY 10128
42. Imelda M. Nicolas New York, NY 10128
43. Ding Ragaza MD. New Haven ,Connecticut 06519
44. Ale Ragaza,MD. Milford,Connecticut. 06460
.45. Emerito F. Salud, Esq. Bloomfield, NJ 07003
46. JT Mallonga, Esq. 350 5th Avenue, Empire State Bldg., NY 10118
47. Emeritus A. Salud Bloomfield, NJ 07003
48. Dr.Augustus F. Salud, MD. Howell, NJ
49. Edgardo F. Salud Skokie, Illinois
50. Susana Salud-Sepe Highland Park, Illinois
51. Abigail Paz A. Salud London, U.K.
52. Sajara A. Salud-Gonzales Jersey City, NJ
53. Roger Alama, P.E. Long Island, NY

From Saudi Arabia
1. Rasmia Ali Mama-O Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2. Sarah Mama-O. Medina Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

From Qatar
1.. Pendatun Gandamra Doha, Qatar

From United Kingdom
1. Peps Villanueva Croydon, UK
2. Julie Villanueva Croydon, UK
3. Jennifer Dib Coulsdon, UK
4. Justin Villanueva Croydon, UK
5.Sally Montemayor London, UK
6.Eddie Montemayor London, UK
7. Pauline Flores London, UK
8. Adrian Sipin Addlestone, UK
9. Allan Ortiz London, UK

Emerito F. Salud - A lawyer from the Ateneo law School ' 73, a member of the NY Bar since 1994, a FILAM community activist, a radio-commentator of RadioPinoy USA, he is currently the Director for Advocacy of NaFFAA Region 1. He is also a member of the NJ Chapter-Movement for Free Philippines, founded by the late Senator Raul Manglapus, and a founding member of Kaibigan Inc., based at the Port of Newark, NJ, a support group for Filipino merchant mariners (seamen).

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