MANILA, Philippines - Chief Justice Renato Corona “will make himself available” in case mediation efforts come in to arrest any further animosity between the judiciary and the Palace.
In a press conference, SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said, “I would like to think that [Corona] will make himself available if there is really an invitation, but there’s nothing really from our end that will say that the court is doing something to perhaps make the situation worse.”
He said there may be expressions of disagreement on both ends, but “the chief justice has also decided to just let go of what happened last Monday.”
President Benigno Aquino III, who was with Corona during Monday’s first Criminal Justice Summit, lambasted the SC for its decisions that, he said, derailed his anti-corruption efforts.
He also took a swipe at the appointment of Corona, who was appointed chief justice during the election period. The high court, in allowing an appointment of the chief justice by the president, said the midnight rule does not cover its own ranks.
Reactions on Aquino’s rants varied, with some, including leaders of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines saying both camps should already hold peace dialogues. Some bishops offered to become mediators.
Marquez, meanwhile, downplayed calls on the impeachment of Corona. The tiff between the 2 opposing branches of government has allegedly triggered some camps to come up with a signature campaign to remove Corona from office.
“This may be an effect of the constant criticisms made against the court. I hope this does not, in any way, further diminish the confidence of the public in the court,” he said.
He stressed: “I hope that our justices will be judged on how they decide on their respective views on a particular case…and all these arguments will be based on their decisions and their views [and] detached from politics.”
He added Corona does not need to revisit his oath of office, as suggested anew by Aquino on Tuesday. “We're all familiar with the oaths of office our justices have taken and I think there is no need to remind them of their respective oaths. They are fully aware of their functions.”
The same could be said for the inhibit calls, he said. He said Corona has the responsibility to decide on controversies brought to his court.
Asked for his comment on the timing of the finding of substance in the impeachment vote against Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, Marquez said: “We just take it at its face value. We don’t want to give any political undertone to it. Let’s give [del Castillo the chance] what to do [with it].”