MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III wants a reformist to lead the Supreme Court, Malacañang said on Tuesday, June 5.
“The main purpose of the Chief Justice right now as we believe it should be, is to clean the ranks of the judiciary,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a news briefing. “First and foremost, you have to clean the ranks….This is the kind of judicial reform that we want to happen with the new CJ.”
On May 29, the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, found Renato Corona guilty of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution and removed him as chief justice.
President Aquino has repeatedly accused Corona of using his positition to shield former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from corruption charges.
Lacierda said that the Aquino administration would like “consistency and predictability” in the decisions of the High Court under a new chief justice, unlike what happened under the previous SC leadership.
“The President wants consistency in the decisions. The President wants predictability for all to be able to know and for the business people as well,” Lacierda said.
When asked, he said that Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima would have to decide for themselves whether or not to participate in the selection process for chief justice, should they be included in the nomination process.
“The decision on whether to be included in the nomination list would be up to Secretary de Lima and Commissioner Henares. We have maintained that both persons are qualified to be the next Chief Justice however that decision does not come from us initially, it comes from the JBC,” he said.
On the opposition of some personalities to the possible appointment of Justice Antonio Carpio as chief justice, Lacierda said Mr. Aquino “is open to having a chief justice within or without the incumbent Supreme Court Justices.”
“But the most important thing is we are waiting for the list coming from the JBC. That’s the only consideration that the President will have to look into, the final list provided by the JBC,” he said.
Asked if the opinion of various personalities on the issue, such as that of Vice President Jejomar Binay, would influence the President’s choice, Lacierda said, “The President is cognizant of the various opinions raised in media but at day’s end, he will have to discuss this and also look at the personal circumstances of the nominees.” – Rappler.com