Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago obviously has no faith when it comes to the competence of President Benigno Aquino III’s legal advisers as she questioned Friday after Malacañang suffered another legal delay before the Supreme Court.
Santiago described the team as inadequate.
“His legal team is inadequate in legal education,” the senator said.
She added that the Palace’s legal misery should not be shouldered alone by Executive Secretary Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa.
“He’s not the gatekeeper of legal issues in the administration. That function is undertaken by the legal counsel or legal adviser of the president, or by the secretary of justice. But it looks to us that the secretary of justice is too engrossed with operational details,” she said in an interview.
Santiago said the President should go someone like former Supreme Court Justice Florentino Feliciano whom she described as “not only globally recognized as an expert in international law but is also the leading constitutional expert in our country.”
The President said he is preparing his legal team after the High Court announced as unconstitutional Executive Order 1 creating the Truth Commission.
Aquino said he is thinking of asking the services of his mother’s former lawyer, ex-Court of Appeals Justice Magdangal Elma, to assist former Chief Justice Hilario Davide and other members of the Truth Commission in fixing Malacañang’s legal strategy before the Supreme Court.
Elma is a former CA associate justice.He worked as a legal counsel for former presidents Cory Aquino and Joseph Estrada. He also served as chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) during the Estrada administration.
Recently, he took his oath as presidential assistant for special concerns for President Aquino.