Aquino’s legacy on the rule of law is still being determined. On the one hand, judges complain that the impeachment of Chief Justice Corona is becoming essentially trial by publicity. On the other hand, some human rights activists credit the president for going after former general Jovito Palparan, one of the masterminds behind extrajudicial killings against suspected leftists (although Palparan remains at large). Ironically, under the Puno Supreme Court had pushed for bringing human rights violators to justice while the Arroyo administration stalled.
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The central question for Aquino is whether he can get beyond the image as the “anti-Arroyo”. Mark Dern in Asia Times highlights the problems plaguing the Philippine criminal justice sector. Perhaps justice-sector reform could be a way for Aquino to demonstrate his reform credentials and leave a legacy beyond simply rectifying the sins of the previous administration.