The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) yesterday sent a letter to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) nominating Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for chief justice to replace the ousted Renato Corona.
In a one-page letter to members of the JBC, VACC president Dante Jimenez said that in order to have a faster dispensation of justice in the country and to assist victims of crime and corruption, his group has nominated De Lima to be the next Supreme Court chief.
The other nominees for chief justice include Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares, lawyer Katrina Legarda, former Ateneo Law Dean Cesar Villanueva, Solicitor-General Francis Jardeleza, former UP Law Dean Raul Pangalangan and former Laguna Assistant Prosecutor Marianito Sasondocillo.
The five most senior associate justices of the Supreme Court are also automatically nominated to the post. They are acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion and Diosdado Peralta.
Jimenez said De Lima possesses the utmost competence, diligence, probity and independence to be able to dispense justice to everyone and to lead the judiciary on the new path.
“Let it be noted that even though former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Secretary De Lima as chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, De Lima performed her duties... only in accordance with law and the truth, and by what is just and right,” said Jimenez.
He said the victims and survivors of heinous crimes and corruption believe that their nominee will likewise do the same as an independent-minded implementer of justice.
De Lima is the most qualified and the right person to lead the Supreme Court and carry out the needed reforms in the judiciary at this point of the nation’s history, Jimenez said.
De Lima said she has yet to talk to President Aquino before making a decision on whether to accept or decline the nomination.
“I was told by my father to follow the wishes of President Noy,” she said.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines Zambales chapter issued a board resolution nominating De Lima for chief justice because of “competence, professional qualifications and ethical standards to serve as chief justice.”
“Her elevation to the Supreme Court would likely contribute significantly to reshaping Philippine jurisprudence in a direction that would protect and strengthen the fundamental rights of the people,” said the resolution signed by IBP Zambales president Christopher Lawrence Monato and 10 others officials of the chapter.
Ironically, De Lima is facing a disbarment complaint filed by lawyer Agustin Sundiam before the IBP for her public attacks against former chief justice Corona before his impeachment trial started in December last year.
In his petition filed last Jan. 16, Sundiam asked the Court to take disciplinary action against De Lima and presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda for their “utterances and remarks on national television which were bannered by all newspapers” in support of President Aquino’s public bashing of Corona during a criminal justice summit last Dec. 5. – With Edu Punay