MANILA, Philippines - A Palace spokesperson on Friday said the help being extended by the Palace legal team to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to overcome legal obstacles to her nomination as Chief Justice should not be construed as a special treatment.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte declined to discuss details about the nature of this help, saying she is not privy to the assistance.
When asked if this should be construed as special treatment by the President, Valte said, “Hindi po. Katulad ng sinabi ng Pangulo, magkokomento po siya kapag meron na po siyang shortlist,” Valte said.
De Lima is facing several disbarment cases before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, which could derail her bid for the Chief Justice nomination.
Sen. Francis Escudero said he does not expect the Judicial and Bar Council to include de Lima in the candidates to be considered for the final shortlist for Chief Justice.
He explained that under JBC rules, any person with a pending administrative case including a disbarment case is disqualified.
"We won't even put it to a vote. The rule will simply be applied unless by some stroke of luck or miracle, the case will be dismissed by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines," he told ANC.
He added: "It will be unfair if we make an exception to the rule because we have disqualified countless applicants who were similarly situated." -- With a report by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News