MANILA, Philippines - The Palace denies that there is collusion among different government institutions to accommodate Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in the Judicial and Bar Council’s shortlist of nominees to become chief justice.
“If there is any suggestion that there is collusion, we would like to say there is none. Iba-iba po 'yung mga institusyon na gumagalaw d’yan: ‘yung IBP, ‘yung Senado, ‘yung mababang kapulungan at ‘yung JBC,” deputy presidential spokespersn Abigail Valte said.
This is in light of the postponement of the JBC’s vote on who would make it into the shortlist and the Senate resolution asking the JBC to defer the submission of the shortlist pending the Supreme Court’s final decision on Congress’ representation in the composition of the JBC.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines has denied de Lima’s petition to summarily dismiss the disbarment case against her, saying that it would proceed with an investigation, effectively dimming de Lima’s chances to make it to the shortlist.
De Lima has asked the JBC not to exclude her from the shortlist of three candidates only because of a pending disbarment case against her.
Under the JBC’s rules, a nominee that faces criminal or administrative proceedings is disqualified from making it to the shortlist.
"Depende po ‘yan sa JBC kung tatanggapin po ‘yung interpretasyon na ‘yung complaint na ‘yun ay hindi pa po full-blown administrative complaint that will constitute as a bar to her being included in supposedly the vetting and the screening," Valte said.
Valte said it is up to the JBC on how to treat the Senate request and resolve other issues confronting the JBC, adding that there is a Constitutionally mandated deadline for the appointment of a new chief justice within 90 days from vacancy.
“From what I understand, the deadline would be on August 27. So bahala na po ‘yung JBC. Alam din po ng JBC ‘yung deadline na ‘yon. They are also trying to work and resolve the number of issues that do confront them today. Hindi lang naman po ‘yung representation ‘yung issue today. Bahala na po sila. But we are all aware of the deadline that is set because of the 90 days in the Constitution,