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The Next Chief Justice

Palace: De Lima rejection 'water under the bridge,' no word yet on CJ shortlist

August 15, 2012 5:52pm

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Wednesday that the disqualification of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima from the Judicial and Bar Council’s shortlist for the next Chief Justice was “water under the bridge” as far as the Palace was concerned.

The executive branch had seemingly lobbied against de Lima's removal from consideration during JBC deliberations.

“I just spoke to [Secretary de Lima] and she is working, performing her role as Secretary of Justice,” said Lacierda.

He added that de Lima also told him that she was not going to question the JBC's decision further.

Asked whether de Lima might consider giving it another go if the opportunity comes up again, Lacierda replied that it would be for her to say.

“I am certainly happy that she is back…She can concentrate with her work as Secretary of Justice. We are very, very comfortable with her being our Secretary of Justice," he said.

Lacierda had no comment regarding De Lima’s statement that there was a conspiracy to keep her out of the shortlist.
Shortlist status

The spokesperson also said that he could not "categorically" confirm whether or not the President was satisfied with the shortlist presented to him, simply because he has not had the opportunity to speak with Aquino about it yet.

Both Lacierda and deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte in separate briefings said that the president has been having consecutive meetings with various government agencies regarding recovery efforts from last week’s heavy rains and flooding and the monitoring of typhoon Helen this week.

However, said Lacierda, in the instances Aquino has had to make selections for judicial posts, he always chose from the shortlists given to him. “He has never returned [a] list yet,” he said.

Asked if the President will want to meet with the people shortlisted for the Chief Justice post, Lacierda said there is still no plan yet.

“We will let you know kung may ganoon siyang plano. Pero, so far, wala pa—hindi pa namin napag-usapan ang tungkol diyan,” he said.

Aquino has until August 27, or exactly 90 days since former Chief Justice Renato Corona was impeached by the Senate, to make a decision.

The JBC is the body that screens applicants on judicial posts. The eight-member JBC came out with its shortlist on Monday, consisting of acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, Solicitor-General Francis Jardeleza, Ateneo De Manila University Law Dean Cesar Villanueva, former Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora, and Associate Justices Roberto Abad, Arturo Brion, Teresita De Castro, and Lourdes Sereno. - BM, GMA News
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