De Castro: SC appointment not a reward for convicting Estrada-A A +A
Thursday, July 26, 2012
MANILA (Updated, 5:37 p.m.) -- Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro denied on Thursday she convicted former President Joseph Estrada of plunder five years ago in exchange for a seat in the Supreme Court.
"I don't think so. I've been in the government for a long time. In fact, it (appointment) was delayed because they wanted someone who was there from the beginning (to preside the case)," she told the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
De Castro presided over the Sandiganbayan's special division that convicted Estrada of plunder and sentenced him to life imprisonment following a six-year trial in September 2007. A month later, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo set him free due to humanitarian reasons.
On December 3, 2007, she was appointed Associate Justice.
The magistrate said she deserved the position boasting over 30 years of legal experience at the Department of Justice and even at the Supreme Court when she worked for the late Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro during Martial Law.
She said she was not pressured at all by the appointing authority to give favorable decisions as she envisioned a Court packed with people of integrity.
If appointed, de Castro said she will try to strengthen the mediation process in resolving conflicts and stamp out corruption by enlisting the help of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for feedback mechanism.
De Castro vied for the position of Chief Justice for the second time. She lost in May 2010 to then Senior Associate Renato Corona, who was later removed by the Senate impeachment court for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.
For his part, former Ateneo de Manila law dean Cesar Villanueva will push for the unification of the Supreme Court and create a strategy roadmap of the judiciary.
He said the SC should not be burdened with other cases and must limit itself in resolving constitutional issues. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)