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Focused on job at hand, DoJ chief not yet thinking of 2016

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 05:06 AM December 27, 2014
leila de lima

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Still focused on the job at hand, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is not thinking about 2016 just yet.

De Lima, who recently earned praise for bravely dismantling luxury accommodations for hardened and influential maximum security prisoners at the New Bilibid Prison earlier this month, on Friday said her mind is still far from election year, the year when her term at the justice department ends.

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While talk has been rife that the ruling party is keen on tapping De Lima for its senatorial slate, De Lima said there has been no such discussion with President Benigno Aquino III.

“No discussions yet on that with PNoy. I really do not know what’s next for me,” De Lima said by text message on Friday.

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She said she felt humbled about a business opinion piece in Friday’s Inquirer, where marketing expert Ned Roberto, responding to a reader’s query, said “you had everything in favor of starting a De-Lima-for-President movement,” given voter perception and behavior towards the official.

“[That’s] very humbling, but certainly out of my league,” De Lima said yesterday, adding that she got text messages about the piece while on her holiday break in Bicol.

In an earlier interview, De Lima said she was keeping her options open for the time she would have to step down from the Department of Justice when a new President is elected in 2016.

The official, a top election lawyer before Mr. Aquino appointed her to her current post in 2010, said one of her options was to go back to her private law practice.

She said her colleague in the cabinet, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, would at times tease her about a possible Senate run, “but that’s just a joke.” Roxas is known to be the Liberal Party’s (LP) preferred presidential bet for 2016.

In November, Caloocan Representative Edgar Erice, LP’s chair for political affairs, said De Lima was among potential candidates being considered for the senatorial slate.

Others on the prospective roster of 12 include outgoing Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo and Presidential Adviser on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.

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TAGS: 2016 elections, Camarines Sur, Department of Justice, DoJ, Edgar Erice, Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, Leila de Lima, Leni Robredo, Liberal Party, New Bilibid Prison, Panfilo Lacson, Presidential Adviser on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery
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