Davao judge who ordered Matobato’s arrest short-listed for CA justice
MANILA, Philippines – Panabo City, Davao del Norte Judge Dorothy Montejo-Gonzaga, who ordered the arrest of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, is among those short-listed to become the next justice of the Court of Appeals (CA).
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) released the shortlist on Friday, January 26, with all 7 nominees being women.
Gonzaga was the judge from Panabo City who issued the arrest warrant against Matobato in March 2017 over kidnapping charges. Of all the warrants of arrest issued against Matobato since he appeared in the Senate in 2016 implicating President Rodrigo Duterte in the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), Gonzaga’s arrest order in March was the only non-bailable charge.
Matobato has been in hiding ever since. His complaint against local cops allegedly involved in the DDS is undergoing preliminary investigation at the Office of the Ombudsman. Duterte has been dropped from the complaint as the Ombudsman proceeded with the probe.
Others who made it to the short-list for the spot vacated by retired justice Leoncia Dimagiba are:
- Ma Celestina Cruz Mangrobang
- Angelene Mary Quimpo-Sale
- Merianthe Pacita Zuraek
- Emily Aliño-Geluz
- Mia Joy Oallares-Cawed
- Rowena Dela Cruz De Juan-Quinagoran
Mangrobang, Sale and Zuraek were bypassed in the last appointment at the CA. The one who got that appointment was private lawyer Walter Ong, the brother of former Sandiganbayan justice Gregory Ong, who was dismissed over links with Janet Lim-Napoles.
Cawed, on the other hand, was bypassed in the last appointment at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan. Appointed instead is now Justice Maryann Corpus-Mañalac, the judge who issued to the Prieto and Rufino-owned Sunvar Realty Development Corporation the notice to vacate from Mile Long.
Quinagoran applied for a justice post at the Sandiganbayan in 2016, while Geluz was appointed by former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III in 2012 as judge of a Las Piñas City Regional Trial Court (RTC).
JBC Announcement: JBC shortlist for Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals (vice Hon. Leoncia R. Dimagiba); all the nominees are women. pic.twitter.com/4QzYMjwqY3— Supreme Court PIO (@SCPh_PIO) January 26, 2018