- Published on Monday, 06 August 2012 00:00
- Written by AMADO P. MACASAET
By A Web design Company
By applying influence, if not pressure on the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to stop the investigation of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima in a disbarment case and seeing that the IBP may not oblige him, President Aquino is said to have made a “personal request” to the Judicial and Bar Council to include the name of the Justice Secretary in the short list it will submit to the Chief Executive.
By so doing the President made it clear to the world that he will appoint De Lima as Chief Justice.
We see nothing wrong with whoever the President wants to become successor of convicted Chief Justice Renato Corona.
De Lima is facing immorality and disbarment complaints that the IBP does not seem to have a mind to dismiss without first going through a full-dress investigation. That is not a minor crisis. It is a major one.
Which means that the IBP can either clear her name or recommend her disbarment to the Supreme Court.
The irony here is that Mrs. De Lima, as member of the JBC, has consistently voted against a nominees not just to the Supreme Court but to the rest of all aspirants for positions in all inferior courts who have pending complaints against them.
The effect of the President’s intervention, if not pressure, is usurping the powers of the JBC which is considered completely independent in making its choices after interviewing the candidates who are deemed qualified for the short list if they are voted upon by the majority of the JBC
The intensity of the President’s desire to appoint De Lima is seen in making a “personal request” to the JBC for the inclusion of her name in the short list after he saw broad hints that the largest lawyers group in the country would not yield to the pressure he applied through his key people including DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, Ed de Mesa, chief presidential legal counsel, and Joel Cadiz, former IBP president.
The 11-man board of governors of the IBP was supposed to meet early last night. The 11th member failed to attend. He is said to be sick.
Sources told Malaya Business Insight that as of last night six of the members of the board will hold on to their earlier decision to continue with the investigation of the complaints against De Lima.
The board is said to have agreed to allow complainants against the justice secretary to file their comments today, Aug. 6. Sources said the IBP will resolve the complaints for disbarment whether or not the complainants file their comments to the memorandum for reconsideration filed by Mrs. De Lima.
This space learned that the board agreed not to dismiss two complaints involving Secretary De Lima’s alleged defiance of a TRO against her in the case of Gloria Arroyo’s request to leave the country for medical treatment.
We are detailing what we learned from sources to show the people that the President is practically squandering the value of convicting Renato Corona who, he alleged, was in the pocket of Mrs. Arroyo.
Present indications are that President Aquino himself wants a Chief Justice in his pocket. The impolite way of saying it is he wants his own Renato Corona in the person of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
It did not occur to the President that his favorite candidate for Chief Justice has only three votes out of the nine-man Judicial and Bar Council. The rule is a candidate must be voted by the majority of the JBP to qualify for inclusion in the short list.
What do we have here? A nominee for |Chief Justice who has a pending disbarment and immorality complaint she and the President do not want the IBP to investigate.
The IBP will likely proceed with the investigation. Pending resolution of the complaints against her, Secretary De Lima’s name should not be in the short list.
Even if there were no complaints, she has to be voted upon by the majority of the JBC. She has only three out of nine so far, according to our sources.
The intervention of the President through his men is important because he may appoint a Chief Justice who the IBP may, after investigation, recommend for disbarment. PNoy and Mrs. De Lima will be shamed beyond redemption.
Her appointment as Chief Justice will be worse than Corona’s who did not have an immorality and disbarment complaint before then President Gloria Arroyo appointed him a Head Magistrate by orchestrating a violation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court itself.
It should be below the dignity of the President to exert influence on, in fact pressure, the IBP.
The President should not have any influence on the IBP, the body being an organization of lawyers including those working for government like De Lima and De Mesa.
The President’s right to appoint the Chief Justice is solemn and belongs to him alone. However, he should not make known his choice by telling the IBP to include his favorite who happens to have a disbarment and immorality complaint. This is not the way to show the constituency the “matuwid na daan.”
There is very little time to resolve the complaint against Mrs. De Lima. The President must appoint a Chief Justice by Monday, Aug. 27.
It is not comforting to know that the President is using his men to practically ensure that De Lima is included in the short list. It is very comforting to know that the IBC seems to have a mind of its own and may not oblige the President in his request to grant Mrs. De Lima’s motion for reconsideration.
At least, we feel that the IBP observes the process of investigating a complaint before it makes a decision for or against the person complained of. It is the President who does not seem to be aware of this fact.
I hate to see the day when the Chief Justice is recommended for disbarment by the IBP and the final decision rests on the Supreme Court. This is a dilemma the President does not seem to be aware of.
The possibility is remote but there should be a legal presumption that it can happen. What will happen if our fears happen?