Aquino: Palace helping De Lima with caseBy Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
President Benigno Aquino told reporters Thursday the presidential legal team was helping Justice Secretary Leila de Lima fight a petition to disbar her before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
“Our legal staff is working on it, helping her,” Mr. Aquino said.
The President declined to comment when asked what he thought of the Judicial and Bar Council’s (JBC) position regarding De Lima, who is a nominee for Chief Justice but is apparently having trouble being included in the short list.
“Perhaps, we should just wait for the JBC processes to be completed before I make a comment. As you know, I have to wait for that list before I can decide,” Mr. Aquino said.
Some members of the JBC have excluded De Lima from the short list of three candidates because of the disbarment cases against her, one of which is currently being investigated by the IBP.
The JBC, which vets candidates for vacancies in the judiciary, will forward the short list to the President later this month.
De Lima had written the JBC last week, saying it was unfair to exclude her from the short list on the basis of the disbarment cases.
De Lima has sought to counter the position of Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, the JBC chair, that the Supreme Court’s referral to the IBP of one of three complaints against her meant the high tribunal had a prima facie case against her.
Under JBC rules, no aspirant for a judicial post may be nominated if he or she has a pending “criminal or regular administrative complaint.”
De Lima has been accused of violating the lawyers’ code of conduct as a result of making disparaging remarks last year against then Chief Justice Renato Corona.
She said in her letter that the complaints against her pertained to her official function as an alter ego of the President and enjoyed a “strong” presumption of regularity.