Thursday, May 31, 2012

Palace scouting for CJ replacement

Sen. Franklin Drilon, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares and Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza are among those President Aquino is eyeing to replace Chief Justice Renato Corona, sources said yesterday. Justice Antonio Carpio might not be named chief justice because he does not seem to enjoy the trust and confidence of the other justices in the tribunal, sources hinted. Sources in the legal community said Drilon wanted to follow in the footsteps of the late Marcelo Fernan – although in reverse. Fernan was the only public official to become Senate president, from 1998 to 1999, after serving as chief justice. Drilon became Senate president sometime in 2003. He also served as justice secretary in the Ramos administration in 1992 until his election to the Senate. Drilon placed third in the 1969 Bar examinations. His classmates included Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and former lawmaker Ronaldo Zamora. Jardeleza was deputy ombudsman for Luzon before being named solicitor general. He was senior vice president and general counsel of San Miguel Corp. Jardeleza graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Law. He placed third in the 1974 Bar exams and completed his master of laws at Harvard University. He was a former law partner of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in the law firm Roco, Buñag, Kapunan, Migallos & Jardeleza. Before joining SMC in 1997, Jardeleza was a partner of the law firm ACCRA (Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices). Henares was mentioned as a possible contender to replace Corona soon after the impeachment trial started in January, sources said. Henares was one of the prosecution witnesses against Corona in the impeachment trial. In her testimony, she said Corona never filed income tax returns from 2002 to 2010. Henares also testified that Corona’s wife acquired an P11-million property in La Vista, Quezon City in 2003 despite having no reported income. An accountant and lawyer, Henares is not new in the BIR, having served from August 2003 to November 2005as deputy commissioner of the Special Concerns Group and officer-in-charge of the Large Taxpayers Service. She was named BIR commissioner in July 2010. Henares finished her Bachelor of Science in Commerce major in Accounting at the De La Salle University. She was admitted as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in 1981. She graduated second honor at the Ateneo de Manila University. Her education includes a Master of Laws major in International and Comparative Law at Georgetown University in Washington, USA. Prior to joining the BIR, Henares worked as a tax lawyer at SGV & Co., partner at the Yap, Jacinto, Jacob Law Office, vice-president for corporate and legal affairs of ING Bank, governor of the Board of Investments and senior private sector development specialist for the World Bank Group. Henares is also an avid gun enthusiast who goes to the firing range on weekends. She occasionally shoots with Aquino, a fellow recreational sport shooter. Catastrophe Meanwhile, Aquino said yesterday an acquittal of Corona would have been “catastrophic” to the country. Aquino spoke before participants of the Jesus is Lord youth summit in Quezon City. “But with the help of your prayers, we are very much okay,” he said. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the verdict of the Senate is a step forward in terms of restoring public confidence in our courts, and trust in the members of the judiciary. “Twenty senators voted to convict Mr. Renato C. Corona on Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment. Our democratic institutions have been strengthened and have been proven to work,” she said. “Mr. Corona is merely the public face of the things that ail our justice system. Let us never forget that those who come to court, be they rich or poor, must do so in the expectation of receiving impartial justice from those who uphold both the spirit and the letter of the law.” Valte said the decision was immediately executory and that the President has 90 days to appoint a replacement. “From what I understand, the position will be vacant because the decision of the Senate impeachment court is immediately executory,” she said. Valte said the argument that Corona was denied due process had been rehashed over and over again, “to no avail.” “Let us put it all to rest,” she said. “The fact is he was given an opportunity to be heard and the Senate impeachment court went the extra mile of allowing him to declaim for three hours, a privilege unheard of in procedural rules.” Valte said at this point it was unclear what action the defense would take as there seemed to be inconsistency in their pronouncements. “Whatever steps the defense will take is a matter of strategy,” she said. Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II hailed the impeachment court for the guilty verdict against Corona. “Not since the EDSA Revolution of 1986 have I felt as proud to be a Filipino than today,” he said. “In EDSA, we cast out a dictatorship, today we removed an unworthy Chief Justice. “And we have done it not by a dint of that great force called people power, but by the normal, constitutional process ordained by our democratic system. “Indeed, we have shown the world the final maturation of Philippine democracy. For decades past, we have always waited upon some accident or fortuitous event to bring about the change we wanted in our political system. Today is different, because we have proven that by the force of institutional checks and balances, we can impeach, prosecute and convict a wayward Chief Justice. “I am proud of the House of Representatives and the Senate for their acts of courage, determination and statesmanship. Many names from both chambers shall be indelibly printed in our history books. “But let us never forget that this event never could have come about if not for the election two years ago of a President who has led us through the straight and narrow path through which law and justice must be applied – both to the common man, and to the high and mighty.” – With Iris Gonzales, Aurea Calica, Rainier Allan Ronda