De Lima says JBC rules favor SC insiders

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Former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima. Photo courtesy of Bulatlat.com
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima. Photo courtesy of Bulatlat.com

By Perfecto Raymundo

MANILA (14-Aug-2012/PNA) – Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima Tuesday said it seems the Judicial and Bar Council rules favor insiders of the Supreme Court.

“There is nothing I can say now which can undo the turn of events. What can I say now that can still undo the turn of events which I’d like to say is really quite unfair for me,” De Lima told reporters in an ambush interview.

De Lima said it appears the JBC is favoring some nominees for the post of Chief Justice of the SC who also have pending cases.

“I am trying to accept it (JBC decision) but I have not really accepted it,” she said.

De Lima was disqualified by the JBC on Monday as a nominee for Chief Justice and excluded her from the shortlist of nominees which was later on submitted to President Benigno S. Aquino III for his consideration.

The SC en banc dismissed the disbarment case against SC Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio based on prior jurisprudence that an incumbent justice can only be removed from office through impeachment and not through disbarment.

De Lima said: “It’s so obvious that rule is quite lopsided to favor insiders of the SC kasi kung ganyan incumbent SC justices can never be subject of regular admin cases because they are impeachable officials in other words they can never be disqualified on that ground unlike kaming mga outsiders.

“Ganyan na nga nangyari sa akin. So I will push for a revisit a review of that rule.”

At the same time, De Lima urged the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to dismiss the disbarment cases filed against her because she believes they lack merit or probable cause.

“Obvious naman, the SC, the IBP, the JBC, mukhang nagkasundo sila lahat trying to pin me down and bonding together as if nagkaron sila ngayon ng common objective, anybody but De Lima,” she said.

She added: “That is my feeling. Hindi ko talaga naintindihan, why was I singled out for disqualification. When were my disbarment complaint referred to the IBP that was July 3, after I accepted the nomination.

“They sat down on those cases for 6 or 7 months and then nung nakita nilang inaccept ko yung nomination, that’s the time they referred it.”

De Lima said there are two or three cases, one was dismissed Aug. 1 and they could have very well dismissed the disbarment case.

“Aug. 1 was well within the selection process and then 1 was still pending not referred to the IBP why was not that other complaint not referred to the IBP? Bakit yung sa akin lang,” she asked.

De Lima stressed that the JBC interprets the rules, the IBP interpreted the act of referral by the SC to the IBP is already a prima facie finding when there is nothing in those resolutions, nothing in the rules would say that.

“So akin lang ang pinagalaw nila in this very crucial time,” she said.

However, De Lima assured that when she goes back to the JBC, she can very well work with them again.

De Lima is an ex-officio member of the JBC in her capacity as DOJ Secretary before she was replaced by Undersecretary Michael Frederick Musngi because of her nomination for the post of Chief Justice. (PNA)

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