De Lima eyes Chief Justice post-A A +A
Sunday, July 1, 2012
MANILA (3rd Update, 4:51 p.m.) -- Justice Secretary Leila de Lima will vie for the Chief Justice position even if President Benigno Aquino III does not want her to leave the Cabinet and succeed ousted Renato Corona.
De Lima confirmed this to reporters Sunday, a day before the screening body Judicial and Bar Council, of which she is a member, will end the application period.
"What the judiciary needs is an effective and trusted leader. That, to me, is the call of the times. And so, after a deeper reflection and further consultations with my family and close confidants, and amidst my initial hesitance and apprehensions, I now feel that I will be up to the challenge and will now take on the challenge," de Lima said in a text message.
Running for the post, she said, is an honor as she left the decision to the President if she is worthy to be named the next top magistrate.
Among others, de Lima was nominated by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Zambales chapter and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), which credited her efforts to resolve high profile cases.
"I sincerely believe that, at the minimum, I have my character and resolve as a person, and my track record and passion as a public servant, to offer for such a crucial and revered post," she said.
But de Lima’s chances to even make it to the shortlist to be submitted by the JBC to Malacañang may be affected due a pending disbarment case referred to the IBP last April.
Jose Mejia, who represents the academe in the JBC, earlier said de Lima can only be considered for the post if the case, which stemmed from her scathing remarks against Corona, will be resolved in her favor.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, also a lawyer, disagreed as he dismissed the complaint as a “classic” case of political harassment aimed at deterring de Lima from performing her duties. De Lima was Pimentel’s election lawyer in the 2007 midterm elections.
In a radio interview, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte confirmed that de Lima met with President Aquino last Friday.
“What I know is that Secretary de Lima met with the President along with Secretary (Edwin) Lacierda, Secretary Abad, and Secretary (Jesse) Robredo, Friday morning before the Cabinet meeting for the presentation of the budget,” she said.
Valte, however, refused to confirm reports that Aquino and de Lima had a “heart-to-heart talk.”
“The meeting was for DOJ matters and I do not have information if she was able to speak to the President one-on-one on the matter of her nomination,” the Palace official said, who deferred to de Lima to speak about her career plans.
Unlike de Lima, Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares has yet to make up her mind whether to accept or reject the nomination.
"I will decide on that tomorrow (Monday)," she said in a text message to Sun.Star.
While in the United Kingdom for a business trip, Aquino said de Lima should just stay in her post to tackle pending cases.
De Lima, whose popularity rating is among the highest in Aquino's official family, was also seen as potential senatorial candidate for the administration for next year's polls. (Virgil Lopez/Jill Beltran/Sunnex)