Palace: Nothing wrong in meeting CJ aspirants-A A +A
Monday, August 20, 2012
MALACANANG refused to confirm the meeting between President Benigno Aquino III and two aspirants for the Chief Justice post last week.
If the meeting actually took place, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said there is nothing wrong to it as it is a "standard procedure" in the selection process.
Aquino reportedly met with Supreme Court Associate Justice Arturo Brion and former San Juan representative Ronaldo Zamora in Malacanang after the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) submitted a shortlist to the President.
Brion and Zamora are among the eight people shortlisted for the top Supreme Court post. The six others are Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justice Roberto Abad, Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, and Ateneo de Manila law dean Cesar Villanueva.
"As a standard procedure, he (Aquino) takes the opportunity to meet with the applicants," Lacierda said in an interview at the sidelights of the vigil for Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo at the La Salle Greenhills.
The Palace spokesman said he does not know if Aquino will arrange meetings with the nominees for the top judicial post.
"We will ask the President if he has plans to do it... But if ever he has, that's confidential, so we'll see if he will inform us about it," the Palace official noted.
Speculations that Brion and Zamora are the real top two choices of the President circulated following the alleged meeting.
Lacierda said it would be better to wait for the President's announcement of his choice next week.
"Let's just wait until August 27. He will make a decision and that will settle everything," he said, adding the President has not given any indication who he would prefer to be the next Chief Justice.
Brion and Zamora are perceived to have big chance of being appointed for the post as the President supposedly prefers to appoint an "interim" Chief Justice, or someone who would serve only a few years at the Supreme Court.
Zamora, if appointed, will only serve for two years since he is already 68 years old while Brion will have four years in the High Court if appointed.
The Chief Justice post has a mandatory retirement age of 70. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)