Supreme Court of the Philippines

Comelec’s Kho, COA’s Aguinaldo apply for SC justice

Lian Buan

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Comelec’s Kho, COA’s Aguinaldo apply for SC justice

SC VACANCY. Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho (L) and COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo (R) apply for a Supreme Court vacancy.

Photos by Angie De Silva/Rappler

The vacancy is for retiring justice Rosmari Carandang, who is member-in-charge of the 37 petitions challenging the feared anti-terror law

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. and Commission on Audit (COA) Chairman Michael Aguinaldo are among the 10 applicants for vacancy in the Supreme Court in January 2022.

The vacancy will be created upon the retirement of Justice Rosmari Carandang, who is member-in-charge of the 37 petitions challenging the anti-terror law.

Kho, Aguinaldo, and Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Maria Filomena Singh will be interviewed on December 6, according to the notice by the Judicial and Bar Council.

The other seven still has valid interviews, among them Sandiganbayan Justice Geraldine Faith Econg, the ponente of rulings that acquitted Senator Bong Revilla of plunder and graft in the pork barrel scam.

Kho was supposed to apply for an earlier vacancy, but he withdrew in August over still undisclosed reasons.

Kho, a fraternity brother of President Rodrigo Duterte, is a member of the Comelec Second Division that is handling at least one petition to cancel the certificate of candidacy (COC) of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said they hope to resolve all petitions challenging the candidacies of elective aspirants by December, before they come out with the official list of candidates. The Supreme Court post will be vacant by January 9.

This is Aguinaldo’s first time to apply for the Supreme Court. He was called to several congressional hearings when both houses investigated allegedly anomalous pandemic contracts, which were first scrutinized because of COA reports.

Aguinaldo said there were no findings of overpricing – a statement consistent with COA’s mandate as they usually do not make findings of corruption, especially in the procedural annual audit reports (AARs).

Nevertheless, this statement was used by Duterte’s ally, including Senator Bong Go, to defend the government, which is in the middle of all the corruption-related controversies.

Aguinaldo had announced a special audit into contracts given to the embattled Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, but they have yet to come out with findings. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.