MANILA, Philippines – Rita Linda Jimeno, associate dean of Centro Escolar University’s School of Law and Jurisprudence who is gunning for the associate justice position in the Supreme Court, said she respects the SC decision allowing the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
Jimeno revealed this in her public interview with members of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Wednesday, November 16.
JBC Regular Member Toribio Ilao pointed out that Jimeno is “100% Ilocana.”
“My view has nothing to do with my being an Ilocana. It is my respect for the rule of law which tells me the Supreme Court’s decision should be respected, and I do respect it,” Jimeno told the JBC.
On the SC declaring Grace Poe as a natural-born Filipino, Jimeno said she would’ve concurred with this decision too if she were part of the High Court.
“She was found in the Philippines. There’s an international concept that a person should not be declared stateless…. I believe the decision was right, that she should be declared a Filipino citizen,” she explained.
Ilao also asked Jimeno about her opinion on the impeachment of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona. Citing news reports, Ilao said Jimeno was initially invited as part of Corona’s defense team.
“I feel that – although it was my daughter who became his spokesperson later on – I feel that there was some sort of error in his having been impeached, although I know it was a political decision – it’s not a judicial proceeding after all – but the grounds used to impeach him are not impeachable offenses under our Constitution. So I think there is some degree of injustice rendered or given to the former chief justice.”
On federalism, Jimeno believes it will help local governments develop themselves and that it can improve lives of people in far-flung areas.
However, she believes the country should not rush into federalism without decentralizing first and passing crucial legislations such as the Freedom of Information law and an anti-dynasty law.
If she were given the chance to amend provisions in the Constitution in relation to the judiciary, she would propose the establishment of constitutional courts to diffuse the responsibilities of the SC.
This way, Jimeno said, SC justices could focus on cases appealed before the High Court, while constitutional courts deal with constitutional issues.
‘Time to do some changes’
Based on her profile posted on the website of the Philippine Constitution Association, Jimeno obtained both her bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of the Philippines.
Aside from her position in CEU, Jimeno is also managing partner of Jimeno Cope & David Law Offices.
She specializes in family law and is an arbitrator, and a Supreme Court-accredited mediator. She also worked as a member of technical working groups that crafted rules on whistle-blowing in the judiciary and rules of practice in environmental courts.
Jimeno was the first Filipino to be elected as director in the International Criminal Bar, and the second lady president of the Philippine Bar Association.
On Wednesday, Jimeno said that if she gets appointed as associate justice, she would still have time to introduce changes in the SC.
“I’m already 64 years old. If I delay this any longer, I think it will be too late for me to contribute anything to the Supreme Court. I think it is now time for me to offer myself to be part of the Supreme Court.”
The JBC will be interviewing applicants eyeing the two slots in the SC on Wednesday and Thursday, November 16 and 17.
The posts in contention will be vacated by Associate Justice Jose Perez and Associate Justice Arturo Brion, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 on December 14 and 29, respectively.
A shortlist of candidates will be submitted by the JBC to President Rodrigo Duterte, who will appoint the new SC magistrates. Under his term, Duterte will get to appoint 10 SC magistrates to replace retiring justices in the next 3 years. – Rappler.com