The Manila Collegian, together with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Makati Chapter and Association of Law Students of the Philippines – NCR, is inviting you and your organization to join us in the “Solidarity March“, on 08 March 2010, Monday, at 9:30am to 1:00pm, being organized to resist the brewing appointment of a midnight Chief Justice by the incumbent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The impending retirement of Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno has created a raging controversy not only in the legal and political circles, but also among concerned citizens. The looming vacancy in the highest court of the land gave the incumbent president the convenient excuse to insist on appointing the next chief justice with or without the list of nominees from the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
We firmly believe that Section 15, Article VII the 1987 Constitution bars the incumbent president from making any appointments 2 months before the elections and until his or her term ends. Both the letter and spirit of this provision are clear and unambiguous. This constitutional prohibition does not need any interpretation, and any interpretation that seeks to disregard the ban should be resisted as it would allow the outgoing President to perpetuate herself in power. We also believe that should the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) submit a short list of nominees, it would constitute direct complicity in the desecration of the Constitution.
In light of this disconcerting development, we take the position that it is no longer within PGMA’s power and authority to appoint the next Chief Justice considering that the vacancy of the position shall occur within the period of the Constitutional ban on midnight appointments (March 10-June 30).
We would like to send this sentiment across Malacañang and show that the Filipino youth, our patriotic professionals and our vigilant citizens will stand against the unconstitutional act of making a midnight appointment of the next chief justice. To this end, The Manila Collegian, together with IBP and ALSP, will organize and convene a solidarity march on 08 March 2010 from 09:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. around the vicinity of the Supreme Court and the JBC. This date is an opportune time to hold the march because it is the last day when the JBC meets as a body before the ban on appointment starts on 10 March 2010. The objective of the solidarity march, with expected participants numbering two hundred (200) to three hundred (300) people, is to call upon all concerned, especially the Supreme Court and the JBC, to be steadfast and defend the integrity and independence of the Supreme Court and the Judiciary against any and all attempts to capture the same by unconstitutional means, including the intended midnight appointment.
The solidarity march will be preceded by a press conference and a brief opening program to be held at Max’s Restaurant, Orosa-Ermita Branch, and will thereafter traverse the northbound lane of Maria Y. Orosa, the eastbound lane of T.M. Kalaw, the southbound lane of Taft Avenue, the westbound lane of Padre Faura, and will culminate at the UP-Manila campus, where a short closing program will be conducted and a simple lunch will be provided.
We wish to invite your organization to join us and be one with us in this endeavor. Its success depends on the strength and unity of the groups and organizations who believe in its cause. Statement t-shirts will be distributed before the march.
We earnestly hope that in this moment of great uncertainty and division, we, the students of the law, youth of this nation, could count on your support and commitment.
We fervently hope that all of the members of your organization would be there to support us in this noble effort to guard the integrity of the Supreme Court.
Say NO to Midnight Chief Justice!
Hukuman ipaglaban, bastusan labanan!