MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has formally opposed Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez’s bid for Supreme Court Associate Justice.
The matter was tackled during Marquez’s public interview by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Wednesday. Marquez is applying for the post vacated by retired Associate Justice Samuel Martires, who was appointed Ombudsman in July.
During the public interview, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) representative to the JBC Milagros Cayosa and retired judges representative Toribio Ilao Jr. asked Marquez about Duterte-Carpio’s formal opposition.
The opposition cited Marquez’s alleged efforts to have a disbarment case against her withdrawn to obtain favor in the upcoming Supreme Court appointment.
The disbarment case was filed in 2011 by the Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines over an incident where Duterte-Carpio punched a court sheriff in Davao City in connection with an operation to demolish shanties.
“The allegations that I talked to the complainants, to the witnesses, I did something, I maneuvered, manipulated, actually, your honor, with all due respect, is not accurate,” Marquez said.
Marquez clarified that he only spoke to the sheriffs confederation in September, 5 months after the group decided to withdraw the disbarment case in April.
In a statement issued on Sept. 19, Duterte-Carpio called on Malacañang to “think twice” in appointing a then unnamed applicant for the associate justice post in the top court.
"It has come to my attention that certain individuals are talking to the petitioners and witnesses in the disbarment case filed against me, asking them to withdraw their complaint. Behind this is an individual who is seeking appointment as Justice of the Supreme Court. This person has been trying to spin my case to get a favorable ruling – hoping that I may take notice of him," she said in a statement.
"The Office of the President should think twice in appointing this individual to be a Justice – more so a Chief Justice. He clearly lacks the virtues of honor, justice, and fairness," she added.
During his JBC interview, Marquez was also quizzed about alleged attempts by a certain Gemma Sotto to lobby for his appointment.
“The issue is with respect to the allegations of Mayor Duterte that… the bottomline is, did you know that Ms. Sotto was going to go to Davao purportedly for your benefit in order to approach the mayor?” Cayosa asked.
“There are a lot of well-meaning friends and acquaintances who are offering their help. I would just say 'thank you' without me knowing what they are going to do and without knowing the extent that they will be doing whatever,” Marquez responded.
“Rest assured, my qualifications, my credentials, my track record, my experience here in the court (SC) — for me, these qualifications will stand or fall on their own merits. But I cannot tell all these well-meaning friends that, 'No, I do not need your help, I do not need your support',” he added.
Marquez was previously shortlisted for the vacancy brought about by the retirement of high court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr.