Telltale Signs: The Blunder of an Arroyo Lawyer, Hitler Fan

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 Ignoring a constitutional ban against making “midnight” appointments in the last three months of her term, former Philippine Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) went ahead and appointed her personal manicurist, Nitz Carpon, as director of a government housing agency and her personal gardener, Armando Macapagal, as Deputy Director of the Luneta Park Administration. For good measure and insurance, she also appointed her former legal counsel, Associate Justice Renato Corona, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

GMA was always generous to Corona who has served her faithfully ever since he served as her chief of staff when she was elected vice-president in 1998. GMA even paid for all Corona’s hospital bills when he had back surgery after she appointed him to the Supreme Court in 2002. GMA even appointed his wife, Cristina, as Chair and CEO of the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC), after firing all the members of the JHMC Board who objected to her appointment. According to a recent government audit of her JHMC income, Mrs. Corona received a total of 972,148.30 pesos ($23,146) for the last six months of 2010, and P1.915 million pesos ($45,595) for the year before.

Corona reciprocated his president’s generosity by ruling in her favor in all the 19 cases that have appeared before him in the Supreme Court.

GMA’s choices before or after midnight were always controversial. The strangest example involves her personal attorney, Ferdinand Topacio, who was featured in a January 2, 2012 TV special expressing his great admiration for Adolf Hitler. Read more here.