De Lima leaves fate of pending cases to JBC
Denied twice of her appeal to have the disbarment cases against her dismissed, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday said she was leaving her fate to the Judicial and Bar Council.
“I leave my fate to the Judicial and Bar Council, with the hope that… council allows each of the candidates’ bid for the post stand or fall based on their own respective merits,” De Lima said in a statement.
De Lima issued the statement after her appeal to dismiss the disbarment cases against her were rejected twice by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
The most recent incident was on Monday, when the IBP denied anew De Lima’s petition to ‘summarily dismiss’ the pending disbarment cases filed against her.
The IBP argued that their hands are tied, as it was the Supreme Court that ordered them to pursue with the investigation.
“It is unfortunate that the IBP opted to maintain its decision based on assumptions and not on the clear language of the Rules of Court on IBP investigations and Supreme Court decision and circulars,” De Lima stressed.
“Up to the present, neither the Supreme Court nor the IBP has come up with any resolution showing that indeed there has already been a prima facie finding of merit in the disbarment complaints referred by the court to the IBP,” she claimed.
Under Section 5 of Rule 4 of the Rules of the JBC (JBC-009), a person is barred from vying a post in the judiciary if he or she has a pending criminal or regular administrative case.
A disbarment case is considered as an administrative case.
Apart from De Lima, Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., JBC member, told reporters on Monday that three other aspirants were facing the same situation on having pending cases – including criminal cases.
They were Chairman Andres Bautista of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairperson Teresita Herbosa.
To accommodate more candidates, Tupas hinted that the JBC may relax its rules by either suspending or amendmending some of its provisions.
The JBC is set to deliberate on Wednesday whether De Lima or other of the 20 chief justice aspirants can still be considered in the nomination process even with a pending case.
“I still hope that the JBC will see through the nature of the disbarment complaints against me as nothing but harassment cases, and which should not be used to disqualify me, and do the same for other similarly situated candidates,” De Lima said. — Rouchelle Dinglasan/RSJ, GMA News