MANILA - A Comelec commissioner handling a petition against presidential contender Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., the outgoing Commission on Audit chief, and 8 others are vying for a Supreme Court associate justice post.
Comelec commissioner Antonio Kho, Jr. and COA chair Michael Aguinaldo both applied to take the place of SC Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang when she retires on January 9 next year.
Kho is part of the Comelec’s 2nd Division where the petition for the cancellation of Marcos’ COC filed by civic leaders is currently pending.
The division recently granted Marcos additional time to file his verified answer in response to the petition, despite petitioners and an election lawyer arguing the period for filing the answer is non-extendible and Comelec has never granted any extensions in the past.
Meanwhile, Aguinaldo is overseeing COA’s special audit on pandemic procurement deals entered into by the Philippine government with Pharmally Pharmaceuticals.
COA’s earlier annual audit report led to the Senate probe which uncovered Pharmally’s inadequate financial standing, supposedly overpriced contracts, expired face shield whose expiration dates were altered and alleged non-payment of taxes by Pharmally and its executives despite purchasing luxury vehicles.
President Rodrigo Duterte had criticized COA for the releasing audit reports but Aguinaldo clarified the claim of overpriced contracts did not come from them.
Kho, Duterte’s fraternity brother and a graduate of San Beda College of Law, placed 10th in the 1991 Bar Examinations.
He had his own private practice and taught in the law schools of Arellano, San Beda and De La Salle University before he was appointed as undersecretary of the Department of Justice in 2016 by the President.
He hails from Zamboanga.
He withdrew from an earlier bid to replace retired justice Edgardo delos Santos.
Aguinaldo, on the other hand, graduated in 3rd place from the Ateneo Law School in 1992 and placed 7th in the Bar Exams that same year,
He has a master’s degree in law from the University of Michigan and taught in Ateneo and other universities before joining the law firm of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
He went on to become a partner at the Romulo Mabanta Law Office.
He was then appointed deputy executive secretary for legal affairs during the previous administration.
For the Supreme Court post, he was nominated by retired Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin.
Both Kho and Aguinaldo will end their respective terms in February 2022.
Both will be interviewed by the Judicial and Bar Council in the morning of December 6.
Another applicant, Court of Appeals Associate Justice Maria Filomena Singh, will be interviewed that afternoon.
Seven other applicants still have valid interviews. They are CA justices Apolinario Bruselas, Ramon Cruz and Ronaldo Martin; Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Justice Geraldine Faith Econg; OIC Court Administrator Raul Villanueva and Finance undersecretary Antonette Tionko.
Former Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez was recently appointed the newest magistrate of the high court.