Monday, February 21, 2005

Sex and the CA

The Manila Times has an incisively written article by Efren Danao on morality and why it doesn't seem to matter to those judging the fitness of millitary officers and Cabinet members for confirmation of their promotions and appointments.

The Commission has been told, through somebody's sworn statement, that the Justice Secretary-designate -- too old and too married for those who think morals can be bound by age and civil status -- had been carrying on an affair with a constituent from the district he used to represent in Congres. It was also suggested to the Commission that the Justice Secretary doesn't believe an illicit affair can't be carried on explicitly. The alleged lovers, says the witness, were "petting each other at the conference room" or sometimes, "in the toilet." (While they were, --if they were of course -- doing it in the conference room, where did those who needed to hold a conference go? The toilet?)

But does the Constitution require the Commission on Appointments to test nominees before it according to a specific standard of morality? Sex and the CA. I can't wait for the next season.

In that case, maybe Oscar Barrientos will soon be the next Supreme Court Justice!

Jane Magturo, "Today" newspaper's regular commentator on the judiciary, has never hesitated to describe how flawed the Judicial and Bar Council's process for vetting nominees to the judiciary can be. Magturo points out that a group of JBC members has been consistently nominating notoriously corrupt trial court judges to the Court of Appeals and to the Sandiganbayan. This has made honest trial court judges think twice about being nominated themselves. Magturo says the honest judges are afraid that they can't compete with their corrupt colleagues when it comes to getting that promotion. Decency sets the limits to what an honest judge will do to seek his promotion. Corruption, on the other hand, sets no limits: the corrupt will do what has to be done to get what they want. Thus, in a contest among corrupt judges over who gets to go up the judicial hierarchy, the things that will matter most are resources, connections and sheer shamelessness.

Going by the criteria for appointment that some Judicial and Bar Council members follow in the nominations that they make, it won't be long then before we may have to call the Manila RTC Judge Oscar Barrientos as "the Honorable Justice Barrientos." Imelda Marcos will be so proud of you, Your Honor.

She might even be inspired to start bankrolling a nomination for you soon!