MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has picked Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra as his Solicitor General, the camp of the incoming chief executive said on Friday.
Guevarra has accepted the post, incoming Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a statement. The outgoing DOJ chief was “chosen for his sterling performance as a lawyer for over 30 years,” she said.
"[Ten] years ago I was offered both the SOJ and OSG positions. Maybe the time wasn’t ripe then. Now everything’s coming back to me. It’s the hand of God at work. Ecclesiastes," Guevarra said in a statement.
Guevarra will replace Jose Calida, the Solicitor General of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte. Guevarra's post at the justice department will be filled by Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla.
Guevarra earlier said his former law firm had handled a tax case for the Marcoses, but could not say if it received notices of assessment from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for the family's P203 billion estate tax liability.
When asked how he would go about the ill-gotten wealth and estate tax cases of the Marcoses as chief legal defender of the state, Guevarra said, "All of these are now in the courts."
"I intend to stick to the role of the OSG as the defender of the republic and tribune of the people," he said.
Guevarra added that the justice secretary post "is very high-profile and has more administrative work, supervising many attached agencies." He said serving as the solicitor general was "better suited me because I had been in law firm practice for 25 years."
The incoming solicitor general graduated magna cum laude from the Ateneo de Manila University’s political science program. He earned his Masters in Economics from the University of the Philippines, and took up Law at the Ateneo, placing second in the 1985 Bar examinations.
Guevarra was a member of the Philippine legal team in the arbitration case concerning the West Philippine Sea at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, according to the DOJ website.
He also served as an ex-officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council, and as commissioner of the Philippine Competition Commission.
Duterte appointed Guevarra as justice secretary in April 2018.
—with a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News