You’ve got to hand it to the man.
He’s one of the most effective marketers of the products that he hawks—from travel to newspapers to himself to the Supreme Court. Artemio Panganiban is a very good salesman. This much, you get from just a few minutes with the man; don’t get him started on a speech because he’s going to give it all he’s got—with a powerpoint presentation to boot.
Yet, he has completely befuddled those who marketed him to be the Chief Justice to succeed Hilario Davide Jr. Instead of being this supposedly political appointee, he displayed a degree of independence not expected from someone who, if rumors are to be believed, owed his appointment to political patronage. In the one year he has been in office as Chief Justice, Panganiban struck down almost every major component of the Gloria dictatorship thrown at the Court—EO 464, Proclamation 1017, CPR and People’s Initiative.
I wasn’t a big fan of his when he was appointed Chief Justice; I’m still not a big fan of his ponencias which are an acquired taste that I haven’t warmed up to yet. But I have to give him all the credit for asserting the independence that stamped the Panganiban Court with an identity all its own. If not for that independence, the Gloria dictatorship would be in full bloom. For that alone: Bravo, Mr. Chief Justice!