So what if ill motive prompted complaint vs. de Lima?-A A +A
Sunday, August 12, 2012
JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima, in several petitions, asked the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) that she be not disqualified as nominee for Supreme Court (SC) chief justice.
For disobeying an SC order lifting the ban on ex-president Gloria Arroyo’s foreign travel, she has been facing charges that, she alleges, are politically motivated.
Others in government have also raised the trite defense when sued in court or, for elective officials on campaign trail, otherwise accused of wrongdoing.
JBC rules provide that those with pending regular or administrative cases shall be disqualified from any judicial post. Politicians facing accusations of a crime risk losing the votes.
Political motive is weak defense. It alleges ill-will as reason for the complaint: personal or party interest, not civic duty. But motive alone won’t refute the charge, unless it is shown to be false and trumped up.
While GMA supporters may want de Lima tarred and feathered, not just stripped of her title as a lawyer, the complaint with the Integrated Bar rests on factual incidents.
She has to answer them in due time. Waving the “political-motive” flag won’t make the charge disappear, clearly not on time to qualify her before JBC.
Rules don’t distinguish “whether the charges are serious or grave as to affect her fitness, as the council may determine,” a qualifier that a JBC member wants tacked on for her benefit.
If JBC changes game rules just to get her in, its intent will be anything but honest. Can de Lima live with that? Not if she’s true to the public image she tries to project.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 13, 2012.