AQUINO REVIVES CORONA'S MIDNIGHT APPT IN ATENEO SPEECH

President Benigno Aquino III took the opportunity on Wednesday to impart the lessons he
learned in Ateneo by using the country’s political controversies as example. Speaking at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Ateneo Professional Schools, Aquino mentioned the midnight appointment of former chief justice Renato Corona, a fellow Ateneo alumnus. Aquino said it was in Ateneo that he learned to become a “man for others.” “But let us not forget that there are those from Ateneo who do not use their brilliance for goodness,” he said in Filipino. He then went on to discuss the appointment of Corona during the previous administration. He said the people should be the judge if it was just for the Supreme Court to intervene and decide on the matter. “Chief Justice (Reynato) Puno retired and Chief Justice Corona was appointed)one week after the elections. The President can no longer appoint, except in Executive positions until the end of the term,” Aquino said. “Was it an interpretation or an outright manipulation of the constitution by the Supreme Court? I leave it for you to decide,” he said of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the appointment.

ALSO: Philippine ex-president's health getting worse, doctors say

The health condition of former Philippine president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo continues to deteriorate because of recurrent dysphagia, or difficulty in swallowing solid food, her doctors said. In a March 5 medical update, Arroyo’s doctors at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) reported that the detained former leader continues to lose weight because of poor appetite. The medical bulletin, signed by Dr. Martha Nucum, the chief of the VMMC’s Medical Professional Staff who heads Arroyo’s medical team, was submitted last Monday to the Sandiganbayan 1st Division by defense lawyer Modesto Ticman. Arroyo has been confined at the VMMC where she has been on hospital arrest on plunder charges following three major cervical spine operations at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in October 2011.

EARLIER RELATED REPORT: Aquino voids midnight appointments but not Corona’s

PRESIDENT AQUINO has ordered the recall, withdrawal and revocation of his predecessor's midnight appointments, Malacañang announced Wednesday. Mr. Aquino issued Executive Order No. 2 revoking the appointments made by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on or after March 11, as well as appointments made prior to it but took effect after that date, appointments to offices that became vacant only after that date, and appointments and promotions made during the 45-day period prior to the May 10 elections. The positions covered or otherwise affected are hereby declared vacant,? the order read in part. A 'whereas' clause exempted Chief Justice Renato Corona from being covered by the order. Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa said Malacañang had found 977 questionable appointments. But the names of the appointees, including undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and provincial agrarian reform officers, were not immediately available. De Mesa said each of the 977 would be examined to determine whether these were covered by the definition of midnight appointments stated in Section 1 of the order. March 11 was the first day of the constitutional ban on presidential appointments that ran until Arroyo?s term ended on June 30.

ALSO: Lawyer blames PNoy admin for Gloria Arroyo health condition

The camp of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo on Friday blamed the
Aquino administration for allegedly "directly contributing" to the health condition of his wife, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. At the same time, Ferdinand Topacio thanked the Sandiganbayan for allowing family and relatives of Mrs. Arroyo to spend Christmas and New Year with her at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City. Mrs. Arroyo, now Pampanga congresswoman, is under hospital arrest facing plunder charges in connection with the alleged misuse of P366M intellgence fund of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office during when she was still president. "The compassion exhibited by the Sandiganbayan Justices is in direct contrast to the cold indifference of Malacañang on the issue, and the Palace’s active persecution of the Arroyos by severely restricting the activities of the former President, not only limited to visitation, but also the sunning and exercise which directly contribute to the health of Mrs. Arroyo," said Topacio, the former First Gentleman's lawyer. "Verily, the occupants of Malacañang have proven themselves once again insensitive to the needs of an ailing woman, and the President and his henchmen seem to lack the Christian charity which was exhibited boldly by the people in the Judiciary," he added. As of posting time, GMA News Online was still trying to get a reaction from Malacañang.


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Aquino revives Corona’s midnight appointment in Ateneo speech


President Benigno Aquino III and former chief justice Renato Corona. INQUIRER file photo

MANILA, MARCH 17, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Kristine Angeli Sabillo - President Benigno Aquino III took the opportunity on Wednesday to impart the lessons he learned in Ateneo by using the country’s political controversies as example.

Speaking at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Ateneo Professional Schools, Aquino mentioned the midnight appointment of former chief justice Renato Corona, a fellow Ateneo alumnus.

Aquino said it was in Ateneo that he learned to become a “man for others.”

“But let us not forget that there are those from Ateneo who do not use their brilliance for goodness,” he said in Filipino.

He then went on to discuss the appointment of Corona during the previous administration. He said the people should be the judge if it was just for the Supreme Court to intervene and decide on the matter.

“Chief Justice (Reynato) Puno retired and Chief Justice Corona was appointed) one week after the elections. The President can no longer appoint, except in Executive positions until the end of the term,” Aquino said.

“Was it an interpretation or an outright manipulation of the constitution by the Supreme Court? I leave it for you to decide,” he said of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the appointment.

Aquino did not spare Ateneo as he questioned the university’s supposed changing positions on Corona’s appointment.
“It seems difficult to serve as a guide when your direction changes constantly,” he said.

He said that to become a guide, it is not enough to be bright or intelligent.

“The difference between right and wrong should be clear to you,” he said.

Aquino said that was one of the lessons he learned as a student of Ateneo.

The President attended Ateneo de Manila University from elementary up to college where he graduated with a degree in Economics.

Philippine ex-president's health getting worse, doctors say Cynthia D. Balana Philippine Daily Inquirer Publication Date : 12-03-2014


Rep. Gloria Arroyo december 2013 photo: Arroyo, now a congresswoman representing Pampanga's second district, is under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City for a plunder case in connection with the alleged misuse of P366-million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds during her incumbency.

The health condition of former Philippine president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo continues to deteriorate because of recurrent dysphagia, or difficulty in swallowing solid food, her doctors said.

In a March 5 medical update, Arroyo’s doctors at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) reported that the detained former leader continues to lose weight because of poor appetite.

The medical bulletin, signed by Dr. Martha Nucum, the chief of the VMMC’s Medical Professional Staff who heads Arroyo’s medical team, was submitted last Monday to the Sandiganbayan 1st Division by defense lawyer Modesto Ticman.

Arroyo has been confined at the VMMC where she has been on hospital arrest on plunder charges following three major cervical spine operations at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in October 2011.

Her present diagnosis is “cervical spondylotic radiculopathy, degenerative lumbar spine disease, and postcervical spine decompression with instrumentation.”

RELATED EARLIER REPORTS (2010)

Aquino voids midnight appointments but not Corona’s By Norman Bordadora Philippine Daily Inquirer First Posted 23:47:00 08/04/2010 Filed Under: Benigno Aquino III, Government, Politics, Judiciary (system of justice)


Photo-MAY 2010, Corona sworn in by Arroyo: NEWS REPORT-The day President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) defied tradition by not taking his oath before Chief Justice Corona, strongly indicated that there will be a "loving relationship" between the head of the executive and the leader of the judiciary. PNoy, instead, chose to be sworn in by Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales -- the sole dissenter from the Supreme Court's decision, which ruled that the Constitutional provision which prohibits the president from appointing anyone two months before the presidential election up to the end of the term (or the so-called "midnight appointments") does not cover the judiciary. This paved the way for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) to appoint Justice Renato Corona as the 23rd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on May 12, 2010 -- two days after the Presidential election and a month before the end of Arroyo’s term. Corona took the post of CJ Renato Puno, who retired on May 17, 2010. Prior to his appointment as top magistrate of the Highest Court, Corona was the spokesperson and chief-of-staff of GMA, when she was still Vice-President. When Arroyo assumed office in 2001 after the impeachment of Pres. Joseph Estrada, Corona became Arroyo’s chief-of-staff. He was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 2002. GMA said that among the nominees submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), Corona was the "most senior Supreme Court justice."

PRESIDENT AQUINO has ordered the recall, withdrawal and revocation of his predecessor's midnight appointments, Malacañang announced Wednesday.

Mr. Aquino issued Executive Order No. 2 revoking the appointments made by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on or after March 11, as well as appointments made prior to it but took effect after that date, appointments to offices that became vacant only after that date, and appointments and promotions made during the 45-day period prior to the May 10 elections.

The positions covered or otherwise affected are hereby declared vacant,? the order read in part.

A 'whereas' clause exempted Chief Justice Renato Corona from being covered by the order.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa said Malacañang had found 977 questionable appointments. But the names of the appointees, including undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and provincial agrarian reform officers, were not immediately available.

De Mesa said each of the 977 would be examined to determine whether these were covered by the definition of midnight appointments stated in Section 1 of the order.

March 11 was the first day of the constitutional ban on presidential appointments that ran until Arroyo?s term ended on June 30.

Undermining successor

De Mesa said the 977 questionable appointments made by Arroyo undermined her successor?s prerogative.

"The sheer number of these appointments gives basis to the opinion or belief that they were made for the purpose of depriving the next President of the prerogative of making these appointments," De Mesa said.

"They were made contrary to the principle that within the presidential election period, an outgoing administration must act only as a caretaker administration duty-bound to prepare for the orderly transfer of authority to the successor," he said.

Quoting the Supreme Court decision in the case of Aytona v Castillo, he said the outgoing administration during an election period was "enjoined from performing acts that would embarrass or obstruct the policies of the successor or negate the successor's executive prerogative to exercise his appointing power."

De Mesa, however, said that "we cannot make a blanket statement that all appointments made on March 10 or immediately prior to March 10 are all null and void or illegal."

He said Malacañang had examined the appointments and come up with "certain categories" to be covered by EO No. 2.

De Mesa said Cabinet officials would be told to conduct an investigation and submit a list of questionable appointments.

He said those whose appointments had been revoked would be "informed accordingly, unless they have already been replaced, or they have voluntarily resigned."

De Mesa said Mr. Aquino had directed Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa to designate, if necessary, an officer in charge to replace any of the affected appointees.

Immunity

Arroyo, now the representative of the second district of Pampanga, cannot be held liable for making the midnight appointments, according to De Mesa.

"She enjoyed immunity during that time," he said, but added: "She's no longer the President, and her actions and appointments can be nullified."

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile also said Arroyo would not be liable for making the midnight appointments.

"She was the President; she might have thought she had the power [to appoint]," he said.

Enrile, however, said that with EO No. 2, Mr. Aquino was well within his rights to remove all of his predecessor's midnight appointees, including those with fixed terms.

"That is the right of the President because he is the appointing power. He can remove, reappoint, retain and dismiss people, even those with a term of office, if, in his opinion, [their appointments] are in violation of the prohibition," Enrile told reporters.

"If there is an issue, then let the courts decide," he said.

PMS appointments

But according to her spokesperson Elena Bautista-Horn, Arroyo did not make any appointments during the prohibited period.

Horn said all of the appointments in question went through the Presidential Management Staff, which she then headed.

She said it appeared that the Aquino administration made its own interpretation of the Constitution because EO No. 2 deemed that appointments to positions would only be completed upon the acceptance of the appointees.

"That's their interpretation of the Constitution, and the only body that can interpret the Constitution is the Supreme Court. Not even the President can interpret it," Horn told reporters.

She also pointed out that under Civil Service rules, no one could be removed without cause.

"That means the employee must have done something not right, or there were issues raised against him, [before he can be removed]," she said, adding that the affected appointees had a 'legal recourse.'

Horn took the occasion to call on the Aquino administration to further extend the services of noncareer service employees until December, "so that they would be able to get more benefits."

Mr. Aquino recently issued another order extending the services of noncareer service officials and employees until October. With reports from Gil C. Cabacungan Jr. and Christine O. Avendaño

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Lawyer blames PNoy admin for Gloria Arroyo health condition December 20, 2013 1:35pm 170 95 3 777

MANILA -The camp of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo on Friday blamed the Aquino administration for allegedly "directly contributing" to the health condition of his wife, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

At the same time, Ferdinand Topacio thanked the Sandiganbayan for allowing family and relatives of Mrs. Arroyo to spend Christmas and New Year with her at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.

Mrs. Arroyo, now Pampanga congresswoman, is under hospital arrest facing plunder charges in connection with the alleged misuse of P366M intellgence fund of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office during when she was still president.

"The compassion exhibited by the Sandiganbayan Justices is in direct contrast to the cold indifference of Malacañang on the issue, and the Palace’s active persecution of the Arroyos by severely restricting the activities of the former President, not only limited to visitation, but also the sunning and exercise which directly contribute to the health of Mrs. Arroyo," said Topacio, the former First Gentleman's lawyer.

"Verily, the occupants of Malacañang have proven themselves once again insensitive to the needs of an ailing woman, and the President and his henchmen seem to lack the Christian charity which was exhibited boldly by the people in the Judiciary," he added.

As of posting time, GMA News Online was still trying to get a reaction from Malacañang.

PNP order

Prior to the Sandiganbayan order, the Arroyo camp had criticized a Philippine National Police directive preventing Mr. Arroyo from staying overnight with his wife.

The PNP has likewise implemented stricter measures for Mrs. Arroyo's visitors.

“The support of Mrs. Arroyo’s family is crucial in this stage of her illness, and the time spent by her family will go a long way in alleviating the miseries brought about, not only by her illness but by her baseless incarceration," Topacio said.

Topacio earlier said the new PNP measures were still part of the Aquino administration's "persecution" of the Arroyo family and his political opponents, pointing to earlier reports that relief operations in super typhoon Yolanda-hit areas in central Philippines were supposedly hampered by political partisanship.

The PNP had already denied that the overnight ban is a new policy, saying it is “just a reiteration of the existing custodial policies.”

President Benigno Aquino III has repeatedly taken swipes against the Arroyo administration during his public speeches, even highlighting the alleged corruption during her administration.

Aquino even made a controversial joke about how supposedly corrupt individuals in the Philippines had tried evading arrest by using wheelchairs, an apparent reference either to Mrs. Arroyo or ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Mrs. Arroyo is currently suffering from spine problems and in the past had been seen in public in a wheelchair. — RSJ, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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