MANILA, Philippines – A week before President Aquino’s trips to the United Kingdom and the United States, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona was removed from his post. A week after he returned home, President Aquino is faced with a decision on whether some of his Cabinet members could vie for the SC post.
At a press briefing on Sunday, June 10, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said President Aquino has yet to make up his mind about letting go of Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza who are being eyed as possible replacements for Corona.
Valte said that President Aquino, who arrived home after a 6-day overseas trip on Sunday, June 10, wants to personally speak to his Cabinet members first.
“The president told us that we should look first on the pros and cons. Also, there are other considerations, like the interruption of their current duties,” she said in a radio interview.
In a previous interview with Rappler, Aquino said that while he “doesn’t want to stop anybody’s progress,” these individuals 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?”
Henares and Jardeleza have already been nominated to the highest judicial post, along with lawyer Katrina Legarda and former Ateneo Law Dean Cesar Villanueva.
Henares, who has expressed interest as well as reservation in pursuing the SC post, is a key figure in the Aquino administration’s efforts to improve the country’s revenue collections by running after tax evaders. She was also a key witness in the impeachment trial of Corona, and is currently leading a probe into the alleged deficiencies in the former chief justice’s income tax returns.
Corona was found guilty of failing to disclose in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth US$2.4 million and P80 million by the impeachment court on May 29.
Meanwhile, automatically nominated to the post are the 5 most senior justices of the SC: Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta and Presbitero Velasco Jr. – Rappler.com