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Not Puno, but the Panganiban Court

/ 12:03 AM September 08, 2014

I write regarding Conrado de Quiros’ column titled “Just say no” (“There’s the Rub,” Opinion, 9/1/14). I appreciate De Quiros’ comment that we do not need Charter change and his support for an independent judiciary. However, I am compelled to

correct his factual averment that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is “following in the footsteps of Artemio Panganiban and Reynato Puno, who were made so by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo but went on to strike down emergency rule, executive privilege and

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Charter change.”

It was the Panganiban Court that struck down emergency rule, executive privilege and Charter change. Chief Justice Reynato Puno, then associate justice, was on leave when the Supreme Court issued its en banc decisions on emergency rule (David v. Arroyo, GR No. 171396, May 3, 2006) and executive privilege (Senate v. Ermita, GR No. 169777, April 20, 2006).

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On the Charter change case (Lambino v. Comelec, GR No. 174153, Oct. 25, 2006), that was decided by a vote of 8-7. Associate Justice Puno wrote a strong dissenting opinion in favor of the initiative to amend the Philippine Constitution. Had his dissenting opinion been concurred in by the majority, some members of the Supreme Court may have resigned in protest (likely Chief Justice Panganiban and

Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the ponente), and the country may now be under a parliamentary system with a prime minister as leader (whom the people expected to be President Gloria Arroyo).

—JOEL J. GREGORIO,

court attorney (2004-2007),

Supreme Court of the Philippines

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