Press Release
January 11, 2009


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today said Malacañang should call off its attack dogs versus Chief Justice Reynato Puno and branded the threatened impeachment proceedings as politically motivated.

At the same time, Roxas said the serious deterioration of the justice system in the face of controversies hounding the Department of Justice - which is caught up in the "Alabang Boys" mess - and the Ombudsman - which has neglected its duty to file charges against big-time officials - calls for a more active role of the Chief Justice to right the situation.

He lamented that at a time the Palace is credibly accused of attempting to wrest control of the bench and to railroad the "Gloria Forever Cha-Cha," "Malacañang has set its sights on a Chief Justice known for his independence and probity."

"They are trying to stifle a wise and stabilizing voice in the national firmament. Sobra na ito. Nilalapastangan na nila nang harapan ang ating demokrasya. (This is too much. They are desecrating democracy frontally)," he stressed.

"Sa umpisa pa lang, pinatatahimik na ni GMA at ng kanyang administrasyon ang lahat ng salungat sa kanilang mga balakin. Kahit pa magkadurog-durog ang ating mga institusyon, gagawin nila ang lahat ng gusto nila manatili lang sa poder (From the start, the Arroyo government has attempted to silence those who opposed their plans, even at the expense of our institutions crumbling down, as long as they achieve their objective to stay in power forever)," he said.

The Ilonggo senator noted that the political attack against Chief Justice Puno comes at time when Congress is about to resume sessions. He said it is suspicious that administration leaders in the lower house are bent on ramming through a Constituent Assembly to amend the fundamental law despite overwhelming opposition to it.

The debate on the issue is expected to reach the Supreme Court as President Arroyo's congressional allies' game plan calls for the House bypassing the Senate in a voting by the constituent assembly on proposed Charter changes, a position opposed by the Senate which maintains voting should be done separately by the two chambers of Congress.

"Alam ng mga alipores ni Gloria na dadaan sila sa butas ng karayom habang pinamumunuan ni Chief Justice Puno ang Korte Suprema (Gloria's allies know this would be an uphill battle with Chief Justice Puno at the helm of the Supreme Court)," he said.

"Sa pag-atake nila kay Chief Justice Puno, nakikita na natin ang pruweba na kahit ayaw ng taumbayan, siguradong pipilitin ni GMA at ng mga kaalyado niya ang Korte Suprema kahit na masira ang ating demokrasya (In attacking Chief Justice Puno, we now see the proof that GMA and her allies will ram through their plans even if the people oppose it, even if they end up destroying the Supreme Court and our democracy)," Roxas warned.

He said despite the denials of GMA and Malacañang that it has no such intention against Puno, the timing of the attack on the Chief Justice is made worse by the worsening public perception of the government's ability to dispense justice, coming after the Ombudsman's failure to prosecute grafters in Arroyo's administration and the allegation from anti-drug law enforcers that cases against the so-called Alabang Boys accused of drug peddling were fixed because of bribes.

"Why attack Chief Justice Puno now? Their timing is so terrible, they're betraying their own agenda to seek more power at the expense of the nation," Roxas stressed.

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