Press Release
January 28, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said he sees nothing intrinsically objectionable about the proposal to change the compulsory retirement age for justices of the Supreme Court from 70 to 75 years.

Pimentel expressed the belief that members of the tribunal should be allowed to stay in office longer as their physical and mental condition will permit so that the nation can continue to benefit from their legal expertise and wisdom.

The five-year extension in the term of SC justices is part of the Charter amendments recommended by the committee on constitutional amendments of the House of Representatives.

However, Pimentel said this specific proposal in the judiciary is still in the realm of uncertainty because he does not think that Charter Change will prosper as long as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is in office.

The term extension for justices of the Supreme Court by itself is not bad. In fact, in the United States, there is no term limit for justices of the Supreme Court. That means they can stay in office beyond 70 years or until they are up to the job, he said.

Pimentel said the absence of age limit for members of the US Supreme Court was adopted based on the belief that the more their mind and their sense of justice become sharper as they grow old.

He said the objective of the Arroyo-De Venecia-Ramos triumvirate to have Charter amendments wrapped up by the middle of 2006 will remain a dream because of lack of support in the Senate. He said even many of the Presidents allies in the Senate are against Charter Change because of the hidden motives of the powers-that-be.

Meanwhile, Pimentel also voiced the opinion that retired Chief Justice Hilario Davides appointment as presidential adviser on electoral reform is not a wise move.

Davide may have good intentions for accepting the appointment, but I think this has put him in a bad light. The people would think that he was given a Cabinet appointment as a reward for past favors, he said.

He should seriously think over the Cabinet appointment before making his decision. I think it is not only the reputation of Justice Davide but that of the Supreme Court as a whole that will be at stake here, he said.

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