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Marcos accepts resignations of entire Supreme Court

By
RON REDMOND

MANILA, Philippines -- President Ferdinand Marcos, in a bid to restore the 'prestige, integrity and good name' of the scandal-plagued Philippines Supreme Court, Monday accepted the mass resignation of all 14 justices.

The resignations, including that of Chief Justice Enrique Fernando, came in the wake of allegations that the bar examination results of Justice Vicenoe Ericta's son were changed in his favor last month.

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The high court determines the passing score for the nation's bar exam. Observers said the scandal was the worst in the 81-year history of the court.

Marcos received the mass resignation offer last Thursday, but spent the next three days meeting with retired members of the court and others in the legal profession before making his decision.

'Rest assured that the steps taken are in accordance with what we agreed to attain -- the restoring of prestige, integrity and the good name of the Supreme Court of the Philippines,' Marcos said.

In a letter to Chief Justice Fernando, Marcos said he would accept the resignations of all 14 members 'in order to create a new court, without the burden of the tarnished prestige of the present Supreme Court.

'At the same time, it is my intention to create a new Supreme Court by the appointment of the members thereof as soon as possible, including members of the present Supreme Court whose terms of office are not recommended for termination,' he said.

Five of the justices, including the 66-year-old Fernando, have been implicated in the bar examination scandal. All were either law school classmates or close associates of Marcos.

Although he has admitted ordering the rechecking of young Ericta's bar examination results, Fernando said he was merely trying to correct a 'possible injustice' that occurred when one question in the test was allegedly overlooked by an examiner.

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