MANILA, Philippines—A senior member of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on Monday described Justice Secretary Leila De Lima’s acceptance of her nomination for the position of Chief Justice as an act of “bad taste.”
Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said De Lima’s acceptance of her nomination was further proof that the judiciary had lost its independence and was now under the sway of the Aquino administration.
“The whole thing is in bad taste. The judiciary has lost its independence,” Arguelles said in an interview.
He hinted that the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona had rendered the judiciary vulnerable to the machinations of Malacañang.
“Regardless of whoever becomes Chief Justice, if the judiciary will not be free (and) will not assert its independence, it’s useless,” Arguelles said.
“As of now, it’s as if the judiciary has been knocked out because of an upper cut that’s why it’s still groggy. I don’t [think] they will be free whoever will be the Chief Justice,” he added.
On the other hand, Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said he saw no problem with De Lima’s accepting her nomination.
“For me it does not matter, provided she is objective and impartial,” Bastes said.
On Sunday, De Lima went to the popular shrine of the Virgin Mary in Manaoag, Pangasinan, before announcing that she was accepting her nomination for Chief Justice.
She was nominated by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, the Zambales Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and Civil Service Commission Assistant Commissioner Rogelio Limare.