It’s the 16th anniversary of the Jesus Is Our Shield ministry, a born-again Christian group, and Renato Carillo, who calls himself an apostle, “the man of God in the Philippine islands,” delivers almost an hour-long sermon. He’s a showman; he breaks into sobs while talking, his tearless face pained….
This show would have been like any other born-again group’s event except for one noticeable difference—and he sat among the audience. Chief Justice Reynato Puno was the ministry’s special guest that night, the speaker who was to close more than four hours of prayer and celebration.
That’s why Carillo emphasized how that day in March 2009 could “change the course of our country.” At the time, the Supreme Court Chief Justice was being asked to run for president by some groups, mainly those similar to Carillo’s ministry. Puno attracted these religious groups because he was a Methodist preacher and he was then convening a “moral force” movement to which they gravitated.
Carillo proudly talked of their special guest. “He (Puno) told me that he gets invited to many cocktail parties where there are lots of food but he’d rather be with the poor…. He ought to be a bishop.” The two had met at a breakfast meeting of select members of the ministry in October 2008, where Puno was invited by retired police General Reynaldo Osia….
The KME saw a kindred spirit in Puno, classifying him as an “economic nationalist.” It was for this reason that they asked to meet with him. The Chief Justice agreed— and he could only have known, at the back of his mind, that the group was urging him to lead an interim government, a junta of sorts, and violate his oath to defend the Constitution.
Also, there are reports that President Arroyo is making dozens of “midnight appointments” in the Executive branch. What isn’t clear from the article is whether these occurred before or after March 11, the start of the two-month ban on appointments under Chapter VII, Article 15 of the Constitution.