Five of 12 justices of the Philippines Supreme Court submitted their resignations to President Corazon Aquino today following her call for the entire court to resign to allow her to make new appointments.
Another justice had resigned earlier to protest electoral fraud committed by the political party of deposed president Ferdinand Marcos to keep him in power following last month's election. Marcos was officially proclaimed the victor Feb. 16, but a military mutiny and popular revolt ousted him in favor of Aquino last week.
The seven who so far have not submitted their resignations are led by Chief Justice Ramon Aquino (no relation to the new president), who administered Marcos' oath of office in a rival inauguration ceremony the same day only hours before he fled his presidential palace.
The five who resigned included two justices who were known as independents and who administered oaths of office to Aquino and her running mate, Salvador Laurel, in an ad hoc inauguration Feb. 25.
The presiding justice of the country's second highest judicial body, the Court of Appeals, today assured Aquino that all 38 of its judges would resign, Justice Minister Neptali Gonzales said.
The resignations come as the new government tries to impose its will on a sometimes recalcitrant civil and military structure inherited from the deposed regime.
The government is also being tested by Communist rebels, who were suspected of killing at least 16 people Monday in an ambush near the town of Legaspi in Albay Province in the central Philippines.
Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile said today that Marcos' intelligence apparatus, the National Intelligence and Security Authority, and his Presidential Security Command are being dismantled to be replaced by scaled-down organizations like those that existed before martial law in 1972.
Military reports today said about 200 Communist guerrillas were responsible for the ambush in Albay that killed 14 policemen, a soldier and a civilian and wounded at least six other policemen and 10 civilians in the first such attack since Marcos was ousted.