Del Castillo, Saguisag decline Chief Justice nominationBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines – Another Supreme Court Justice and a former senator have declined their nominations for the Chief Justice post.
Records from the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) showed that Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo and former Senator Rene Saguisag declined their nominations.
Del Castillo has a pending impeachment case in Congress for allegedly plagiarizing part of a court decision from opinions of international legal experts.
The high court cleared Del Castillo of any wrongdoing after an investigation and his staff admitted to have accidentally deleted footnotes for the quoted opinions of experts. But Congress has yet to dismiss the impeachment case lodged against him.
Saguisag, on the other hand, said in his letter to the JBC that he was already past the mandatory retirement age of 70. He will be turning 73 on August 14.
He said there was an opportunity for him to sit as high court justice but he turned down the appointment.
Saguisag, who was elected senator in 1987 until 1992, said he considered the opportunity given to him to serve the country a reward.
Prior to his stint at the Senate, Saguisag was spokesman for the late President Corazon Aquino. He was also tasked by former President Joseph Estrada to lead the investigation on the anomalies surrounding the preparations for the Philippine Centennial Anniversary celebration.
Saguisag nominated two candidates for the Chief Justice post – Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad and former San Juan Representative Ronaldo Zamora, who both accepted their nominations.
Aside from Del Castillo and Saguisag, other nominees who declined were:
1. Supreme Court Associate Justice Estela Perlas Bernabe
2. Former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr.
3. Former Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla
4. Dean Rodolfo Robles
5. Prosecutor Marianito Sasondoncillo
6. Integrated Bar of the Philippines President Roan Libarios
There were three other nominees – two Justices and a lower court judge, who did not accept the nominations and even requested the JBC to exclude their names from the list.