A couple of seats at the highest court of the land will soon be vacated, as two Supreme Court (SC) justices are set to retire in December: Associate Justice Jose Perez on December 14, and Associate Justice Arturo Brion on December 29.
Of the 14 nominees vying for Perez’s post, one has been rumored to be President Rodrigo Duterte’s pick for the SC seat – and she has an influential person reportedly backing her bid.
According to sources in the legal community, chief public attorney Persida Acosta’s application to the SC was reportedly endorsed by Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The President has publicly declared his close ties to the Marcoses. His father, Vicente Duterte, was a Marcos loyalist “until the end,” serving under then President Marcos as head of General Services, the equivalent of the interior department.
His mother, however, had been part of the anti-Marcos movement in Davao City.
Citing his admiration for the late dictator, Duterte had promised to allow a hero’s burial for Marcos – a decision fiercely opposed by various groups, especially those who suffered during the dictatorship.
Earlier this week, the President revealed that Imee Marcos was among the local officials who supported his successful presidential bid.
The younger Marcos, Duterte said, had loaned some money to help fund his campaign.
While the Marcoses have made a successful comeback to Philippine politics after the 1986 ouster of their patriarch, legal cases remain pending against them.
The government is still trying to recover the billions in ill-gotten wealth amassed by the Marcoses.
Over the last 30 years, the Presidential Commission on Good Government has recovered at least P170 billion. Various estimates put the total Marcos loot at between $5 billion to $10 billion.
There are still 248 pending cases against the Marcoses in various courts, according to an ABS-CBN report.
Some appeals also remain pending before the High Tribunal.
The 14 aspirants for the SC post, however, are not yet final and official. The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), the body mandated to vet applicants to the judiciary, have yet to screen the nominees and review their qualifications.
The JBC will then draw up a shortlist, to be submitted to the President. – Rappler.com