A portent of more evil things to come.
It seems that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is not content in simply controlling independent, separate and constitutional institutions like Congress, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court. It also wants to replace the present Chief Justice by a friendly justice who, based on his previous rulings, is inclined to favor the corrupt and the tyrant.
According to several sources, Justice Diosdado “Dado” Peralta, a senior magistrate of the high court, has been telling people within and outside the august halls of Padre Faura that he will be the next chief justice of the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was appointed by former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino on August 2012 as the top judge of the country and will finish her term on 2030 as provided under the constitution. However, she is battling an impeachment complaint which, according to known and respected constitutionalists and legal luminaries, is legally and factually baseless and is politically motivated.
Earlier, a group called Action for Good Governance (ACG) called on Justice Peralta to come clean on the issue.
“It is a disturbing coincidence that the justice who wrote the decision allowing the burial of the late dictator has been heard within the walls of the high court declaring that he would be the next chief justice,”
the group said through its spokesman Macario Alfonso.
Peralta is an Ilocano and a known supporter and sympathizer of the Marcos family.
In fact, it was Peralta who penned the decision allowing the hero’s burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani (LNMB).
Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist John Nery, in his November 15, 2016, article The unfortunate Justice Peralta, said that “Peralta’s ponencia in the Marcos burial cases will go down in history as the cowardly rationalizations of a willfully blind man.”
Atty. Larry Gadon, the lawyer who filed and initiated the impeachment complaint against Sereno, is also a self-confessed Marcos loyalist and has been seen socializing and dining with the Marcos family.
With all these linkages, we cannot stop thinking if Peralta is somewhat complicit with the sinister move to oust Sereno.
Former Senator Bongbong Marcos has definitely a great interest as to who will head the Supreme Court. He has a pending electoral case against Vice-President Leni Robredo before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal whose members are incumbent Justices of the Supreme Court.
The Facebook page Justice Sereno said that all of these are not simply or purely coincidental as it blasted the political intention or favors behind the decision in the burial cases vis-à-vis the bold and shameless declaration of Peralta.
“Marcos loyalists are lining up to get their rewards. Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, the person who wrote the decision in favor of historical revisionism and to allow the burial of a dictator in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, just declared that he would be the next Chief Justice.
This is more than just a coincidence, from the very beginning of the LNMB issue, the Filipino people knew it was full of political intentions because no one in their right mind would allow burying a dictator in a resting place for heroes. This is especially true for a mind who studied the law and the spirit behind it.
More than the technicality of the law, the law exists for the sake of justice and for the sake of the people. There is no way to defend that the burial of Apo Lakay in the LNMB was in the name of Justice. So if the decision of Justice Peralta, among other Justices, was driven by political favors, then it would make perfect sense of what happened.”
Aside from claiming that he will replace Sereno soon, it was also reported that Peralta had boasted that his wife, Court of Appeals Justice Fernanda Lampas-Peralta, will be the next presiding justice of the appellate court.
Peralta is one of the notorious Arroyo Justices, being appointed by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in January 2009. He will retire on 2022.
Aside from the Marcos burial ruling, this is how Peralta voted in other sensational and landmark cases.
Peralta voted to grant bail to former Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile who is charged for the non-bailable offense of plunder.
He also voted to dismiss the plunder cases against Macapal-Arroyo even before the prosecutors from the Ombudsman were given ample opportunity to present their evidence and establish the former president’s guilt.
On the contrary, Peralta ruled to deny Sen. Leila de Lima’s petition to quash the criminal information filed by the Department of Justice against her and the subsequent warrant of arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa despite the undeniable absence of evidence to establish probable cause against her and the glaring proof that her case is one of persecution and not prosecution.
With Peralta’s horrible voting record as an associate justice, what will happen to the entire justice and legal system of the country in case his dream of becoming a chief justice becomes a reality?