The Philippines government is facing a legal crisis with the appointment of a new Philippine justice minister, the first official since President Rodrigo Duterte took office to be accused of corruption.
The Philippine National Police, which has a huge budget and wide-ranging jurisdiction, has already indicted a former mayor of Davao City for allegedly accepting bribes in return for granting the mayor an official permit for construction of a shopping mall.
In the Davao case, prosecutors have accused the former mayor, Mar Roxas, of accepting bribes worth thousands of dollars, in addition to accepting bribes from the Davuan government.
In a ruling released on Thursday, the Supreme Court said that it is the “judicial discretion” of the president and the legislature to appoint judges, even though the two are the same.
The court ruled that since the Supreme Council of the Philippines was appointed in July, the government could not have appointed the new chief justice without prior approval from the court.
It also said the Constitution does not require that a government appoint judges.
“In the event that the President and the Legislature are unable to reach an agreement on the appointment or the appointment to the Court of the members of the Supreme Commission of the Judiciary, the Court shall have the power to appoint the new Supreme Court members,” the ruling said.
Duterte has defended the appointment and said he would not be impeached.
“I will not be the subject of impeachment,” Duterte said during a rally in Marawi City on Wednesday.
“I will be able to run the country.”
Duterte’s controversial war on drugs has made the Philippines one of the world’s most dangerous places for drug users.
During the war, the police and military have killed thousands of drug users, including hundreds of policemen, as well as tens of thousands of suspected drug dealers.
Some human rights activists say Duterte’s war has led to a surge in the use of drugs and violence in the Philippines.
Since Duterte took power, more than 30,000 people have died of drugs-related causes, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Global Witness.
More than 2,600 have been killed in police operations, according a 2014 study by the Philippine National Commission on Human Rights.
The country’s justice minister is the second deputy to be implicated in the Davanese corruption scandal.
Pendula Maranha was first appointed to the justice ministry in March after serving as Davao city’s mayor from 2006 to 2013.
Maranha, who is also the city’s police chief, has been the subject to numerous corruption cases since she took office.
He has admitted accepting bribes, including a $3 million gift from the local police chief.
Marin Davao mayor and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte hold a press conference at the Philippine Consulate in Manila on April 14, 2018.
Duterte, a former senator, is currently under investigation by the Senate and House of Representatives.
He faces charges of crimes against the state and treason for allegedly ordering the bloody crackdown on protesters during his presidential campaign last year.