MANILA, Philippines - Members of President Aquino's Cabinet whose names have been floating as possible replacements for former Chief Justice Renato Corona as head of the Supreme Court must beg off if they are nominated, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said on Monday.
Santiago noted that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares both testified against Corona in his impeachment trial, where he was convicted.
"It cannot be helped but raise doubts in the minds of the public that they were testifying so they can get rid of the incumbent and replace him," said Santiago, who voted to acquit Corona.
"I'm afraid that they have disqualified themselves morally."
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, believes De Lima is "in for a disappointment" if she nominates herself or accepts somebody else's nomination for her to be Chief Justice.
Lacson said a pending disbarment case against De Lima would make her automatically disqualified. The case was filed after she defied the Supreme Court's temporary restraining order on her travel ban on former President Gloria Arroyo in November last year.
Aside from this, Lacson said De Lima antagonized not just Corona but the entire Court when she disobeyed the order.
"Propriety dictates that she beg off if she's nominated," he said.