Aquino’s classmate Caguioa eyed as chief presidential counsel
MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino will name a new chief presidential legal counsel in January 2013, and lawyer Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, who was Aquino’s classmate in Ateneo, is being considered for the post.
“He (Caguioa) is under consideration,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters at a Palace briefing on Wednesday.
Lacierda, however, said he had yet to receive any confirmation from the Office of the Executive Secretary.
Caguioa was a classmate of Aquino at Ateneo de Manila University, from grade school to college.
The lawyer is a senior partner of the Caguioa and Gatmaytan law office, which specializes in litigation and arbitration, and the son of the late Court of Appeals Justice Eduardo Caguioa.
“We’re looking at possible nominees … but I know Ben Caguioa personally. He is a very able lawyer. He is four batches ahead of me in Ateneo Law School,” said Lacierda, himself a lawyer.
“I will let you know if there is already a confirmation on who will be the new chief presidential legal counsel,” said Lacierda.
Asked about Caguioa’s prospects, Lacierda said by phone that Caguioa was a bar topnotcher in 1986, an honor graduate of Ateneo Law School and an “able” law practitioner.
“His qualities would certainly be welcome in the Office of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, but we don’t know who the other (contenders) are,” said Lacierda.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said as much.
“Good, I think. He’s a competent lawyer and the President knows him well,” said Abad in a text message, without elaborating.
Deputy chief presidential legal counsel Eloisa Sy currently heads the office in an acting capacity.
The vacancy was triggered by the resignation last week of chief presidential legal counsel Eduardo de Mesa, who has moved to the government-owned and -controlled corporation Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).
De Mesa, who held the post for two and a half years, was appointed BCDA director and assumed the post on Dec. 19, replacing Teresita Desierto.
As chief presidential legal counsel, De Mesa also sat in a committee that had been vetting judges, but had kept a low profile.
He was among those who crafted the Executive Order No. 1 creating the Truth Commission, which was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court for intending to single out the Arroyo administration in the anti-corruption campaign of President Aquino.