MANILA -- Party-list group Akbayan on Wednesday said it will file a motion for reconsideration following the Supreme Court (SC) ruling that allowed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to appoint the successor of Chief Justice Reynato Puno despite the constitutional ban on midnight appointments before the elections.

“We will certainly muster all the remaining legal actions to block this impending encroachment by the Executive upon the powers and the independence of the judiciary. We will not give Mrs. Arroyo her day,” Akbayan Representative Walden Bello said in a statement.

Bello warned that the issue could be brought to the streets if the High Court will not reconsider its decision.

“When rule of law becomes synonymous with the rule of Gloria, when the desecration of laws and the constitution are permitted to insulate Mrs. Arroyo from prosecution and incarceration for historical and current transgressions, the possibility of a political upheaval becomes real. In lieu of legal battles, the issue can turn into street battles ala-Edsa,” Bello said.

“All is not lost. The Supreme Court has the power to settle this peacefully. I hope they will reconsider their decision,” Bello added.

Meanwhile, University of the Philippines (UP) law professor Harry Roque said Wednesday is “a sad day for the rule of law.”

Various groups, including the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) insisted Arroyo cannot name Puno’s replacement due to the constitutional ban on presidential appointments two months before the elections and until the end of the president’s term.

The groups said Arroyo should leave the naming of the next chief justice to her successor.

Puno will reach the mandatory retirement of 70 on May 17 this year while Arroyo will end her nine-year rule on June 30. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)