Names of De Lima, Henares come up in Aquino’s discussions on next chief justice
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino has brought up the names of the two toughest women in his administration in discussions on the next chief justice of the Supreme Court following the removal from the post by impeachment of Renato Corona.
“She’s qualified,” abscbnnews.com quoted Mr. Aquino as saying with respect to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima in an interview with ABS-CBN anchor Ted Failon in Malacañang on Friday.
They were discussing possible appointments to the vacant post of chief justice when President Aquino added, “It is said that in my administration, there are two who are feared: Leila De Lima and Kim Henares.”
Edwin Lacierda, Aquino’s chief spokesperson, said on Saturday that De Lima and Henares were both qualified to be considered for the position of the country’s top magistrate.
“We have no information as to who is on the shortlist. But certainly, Secretary Leila de Lima is fully qualified and she has proven her competence and her integrity,” Lacierda said over state-run radio station dzRB.
“But again, many names are cropping up. Just like when President Aquino mentioned the name of Commissioner Kim Henares. Commissioner Kim Henares is qualified and so is Secretary Leila de Lima,” he added.
Lacierda noted that the president has no list to choose from as yet as the Judicial and Bar Council has just started the nomination process following Corona’s removal.
“One of the things he mentioned was that if you appoint someone from within the Cabinet, what will be the gain to the Executive branch, what will be the loss to the Executive Branch,” Lacierda said.
“So these are assessments that we will be making, but again, we have to make it clear that there’s still no list. Yes, the President has 90 days to make a decision. I don’t think he will use up the entire 90 days although he’s not in a hurry,” he added.
Lacierda said the process of appointing the next chief justice would be “a thorough assessment of those people who should occupy the most important position in the judicial branch of government.”
Aquino on Friday said he’s bound neither by law nor tradition to appoint anybody from among the incumbent justices especially since most of them had perpetuated the system of keeping their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth, which are supposed to be public documents, under lock and key.
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