He has accepted a Supreme Court associate justice nomination but as far as Malacañang is concerned lawyer Marvic Leonen is not yet done with his job as the government’s chief negotiator with the Muslim rebels.
The government peace panel that Leonen heads has yet to draft the framework agreement’s annexes on wealth and power sharing, and normalization preparatory to the signing of a final peace agreement, said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.
“There is work yet to be done. There are annexes yet to be discussed, specifically wealth sharing and normalization. Those things need to be discussed. In that sense, his work is not yet done. So we don’t know yet whether the President will let him go,” the presidential spokesperson said.
But as promised, President Aquino will interview Leonen and the six other nominees and give them a “chance to air their views,” Lacierda said.
Leonen leads the Judicial and Bar Council’s shortlist of nominees to fill the post vacated by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. The list includes De La Salle University law dean Jose Manuel Diokno, former Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr., and Court of Appeals Associate Justices Jose Reyes Jr., Noel Tijam and Rosemari Carandang.
The President has until Nov. 22 to name his choice. As of noon yesterday, Malacañang had not yet received the JBC shortlist.
In the end, it is the President who will decide whom to appoint as Supreme Court associate justice, he said.
“Whether it’s Marvic or the others, he’s going to weigh what will serve the national interest best,” he said.
But Leonen would serve the national interest “competently” whether engaging in peace negotiations or sitting in the judiciary, said Lacierda.
“He’s competent in both. He has shown his competence and his adroitness in the negotiations with the MILF (the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front). And he’s a former dean of the UP College of Law. That gives him the gravitas to also be an associate justice of the Supreme Court. In both cases, he will serve the national interest competently,” he said.