No De Lima in IBP’s top picks for Chief Justice; Abad is No. 1By Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who claims to have the edge among candidates for Chief Justice, was nowhere among the top picks in a mock vote conducted by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for the vacant post.
The insiders, led by Associate Justice Roberto Abad, edged the outsiders in the vote cast by the nine members of IBP’s board of governors and 13 national officers.
The main national organization of lawyers in the country released on Monday the 10 names of those who landed on the top eight slots in the vote among the 22 nominees (two were later disqualified) for the post of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The top choices were
2. Associate Justice Lourdes Sereno
3. Associate Justice Arturo Brion
4. Former University of the Philippines law dean Raul Pangalangan
5. Associate Justice Leonardo de Castro
6. Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Presidential Commission on Good Government Chairman Andres Bautista
7. Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza
8. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairperson Teresita Herbosa and former Representative Ronaldo Zamora
Abad at 68 is the most senior of the Supreme Court justices nominated. Because the retirement age for justices is 70, he will serve for two years if chosen. Commentators regard him as a convenient interim head of the judiciary in the wake of the fallout of Corona’s divisive impeachment trial.
Abad has told the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) the judiciary has been “wounded” by Corona’s impeachment trial and requires an insider in the healing process.
The JBC, whose seven members include an IBP representative, is vetting the nominees in accordance with a constitutional mandate. It is to submit a short list of three candidates from which President Aquino is to choose Corona’s successor.
“Please note that these votes reflect only the individual preferences of the members of the Board and the national officers and should in no way be construed or interpreted as IBP’s official vote in the JBC deliberations,” said IBP spokesperson Trixie Cruz-Angeles.
In a statement, Angeles said the mock vote was conducted by the IBP on its members and 90 percent of them said they preferred an insider as the next Chief Justice.
An IBP source said the 52-year-old De Lima was nowhere among the top 10 picks for the job vacated by the man she helped remove.
De Lima has said she has the advantage among the candidates because of her closeness to President Benigno Aquino.