Philippine National Police

PNoy’s CJ choice: Will it be Henares or De Lima?

Aquino said he is still studying if having De Lima or Henares appointed chief justice would do more good than harm



OFF TO SC? Will De Lima or Henares be appointed chief justice?

MANILA, Philippines – So will President Benigno Aquino III consider one of his Cabinet members for the post of chief justice or not?

The names of tax commissioner Kim Henares, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Solicitor-General Francis Jardeleza have been floated as possible replacement for ex-Chief Justice Renato Corona. He was removed from his post on May 29 after the impeachment court found him guilty of failing to disclose in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth US$2.4 million and P80 million.

But Aquino told Rappler on June 1, Friday, that while he “doesn’t want to stop anybody’s progress,” they are already effective members of the Cabinet and pulling out any of them from his team will only give him another problem: “Who will fill in their shoes?”

He said he’s not even sure if Henares will even consider being a judge. Jardeleza, on the other hand, had just recently been appointed solicitor-general after serving as deputy ombudsman for Luzon for less than a year.

De Lima said, however, she’s not closing her doors to being nominated chief justice.

Decisions, decisions

In an interview with Ted Failon of broadcast network ABS-CBN, however, Aquino said he is still studying if having De Lima or Henares appointed chief justice — and letting them go from his cabinet — would do more good than harm. He said he believes both of them are competent.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima has expressed support for Henares’ possible nomination to the post of chief justice, but the head of the Bureau of Internal Revenue said she would rather stay and finish her job at the BIR. Yet, she also indicated a degree of openness to an appointment when she later said, “Let’s cross the bridge when we get there.”

Henares is one of the witnesses in the impeachment trial against Corona. She testifed that Corona’s wife Cristina bought an P11-M property in La Vista even if she had no declared source of income.

De Lima, on the other hand, started the probe against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband, lawyer Jose Miguel for their alleged involvement in the reported electoral fraud in 2007. She also testifed in the impeachment trial that Corona committed “irregularities” to have the temporary restraining order (TRO) sought by Arroyo issued immediately.

Arroyo asked for the TRO to stop De Lima from enforcing her watch list order against her and her husband. De Lima barred the Arroyo couple from leaving the country because they were under preliminary investigation for the electoral sabotage case. –