Palace denies influencing IBP proceedings-A A +A
Monday, August 6, 2012
MANILA (3rd Update, 5:03 p.m.) -- Malacañang on Monday dismissed allegations of influencing the proceedings of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on the disbarment cases against Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
Lawyer Ricardo Rivera, one of the complainants in the disbarment case, reportedly accused several Cabinet officials of intervening in the proceedings.
"I have no idea who Attorney Rivera is mentioning unless he has heard personally from a Cabinet official who spoke to him," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
Lacierda said he was not aware of any Cabinet official who have spoken to any IBP official for the purpose of lobbying the case of de Lima.
He also noted that the IBP's recent decision to deny the appeal of de Lima to set aside her disbarment cases pending her application to the Chief Justice post would have been reconsidered if the Palace helped her.
Aquino earlier admitted that he has tasked his legal team to help de Lima with her case. De Lima is rumored to be the Palace choice to be the next Chief Justice.
"If we did, something—it would have been reconsidered. But, obviously, IBP has taken a stance that shows that we have not done—we have not spoken to them," Lacierda said.
In a statement, de Lima said she is hoping that the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will not disqualify her since the nature of the complaints is nothing but harassment. The JBC screens applicants to all judicial posts.
"Up to the present, neither the Supreme Court nor the IBP has come up with any resolution showing that indeed there has been a prima facie finding of merit in the disbarment complaints referred by the Court to the IBP. This is why the IBP had to assume there was one, even when it cannot point out to any document to that effect," she said.
Lacierda challenged Rivera to present evidence to prove his claims.
Rivera wanted de Lima to be disbarred for defying a Supreme Court order allowing former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to travel abroad last year.
Malacañang still refused to divulge what help the Palace legal team is extending de Lima as the IBP earlier said there is nothing with this move as long as the assistance is limited to the legal aspect of the case.
But Lacierda justified that de Lima needs help at this moment especially since her father died recently.
Meantime, Malacañang refused to comment on the JBC decision to move the deliberation on the shortlist of nominees for the next Chief Justice to Wednesday.
"I am not privy to the details of the JBC. I don't know why Congressman (Niel) Tupas asked for an extension. I'm not in a position to comment on that," Lacierda said.
The JBC has interviewed 20 nominees for the post including De Lima. (Jill Beltran/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)