Saturday, July 21, 2012

De Lima files indefinite leave to attend to ailing father

MANILA -- The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) may re-schedule the interview on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima if she could not make it on Tuesday next week after she filed an indefinite leave Thursday. Jose Mejia, academe representative to the JBC, said they will discuss anytime soon de Lima's situation as she flew to Bicol Thursday afternoon to attend to her father, former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Vicente de Lima. The Justice chief's father is confined at a hospital due to colon cancer. "Hopefully, I can make it for the public interview next week," de Lima said in reply. De Lima was among the first nominees to be interviewed by the JBC, along with Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chairman Andres Bautista, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, law professor Soledad Cagampang-de Castro, human rights lawyers Jose Manuel Diokno and Katrina Legarda. The interviews are slated July 24 to 27 at the Division Hearing Room of the Supreme Court. Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar was designated officer-in-charge during her leave, which took effect Thursday and would remain in force until she reports back to duty. "In the interest of the service and pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar is hereby designated as the OIC of the Department in the absence of the undersigned, who is going on leave to attend to a family emergency," she said in Department Order 589. An ex-officio member of the JBC, de Lima inhibited herself from the deliberations of the panel after she accepted her nomination for the position of chief justice, which became vacant when impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona was convicted by the Senate impeachment court. Since the JBC published the "long list" of nominees, de Lima has received nine opposition letters for her nomination. She only held the record of having received the most number of nominations for the post. Meanwhile, crime victim-turned-anti-crime advocate Lauro Vizconde submitted Thursday an opposition to the nomination of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, whom he accused of corruption in connection with the acquittal of Hubert Webb in December 2010. Webb was the main suspect in the killing of Vizconde's wife Estrellita and two daughters in 1991. Now the president of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, Vizconde said Carpio is not fit to become the Chief Justice because of his alleged tendency to become biased “to serve his own personal interests and interests of those close to him.” "I am respectfully submitting my vehement objection to the nomination and appointment of SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as he is wanting in, and has not proven his possession of the qualities of integrity, probity and independence," Vizconde said in his three-page opposition. Carpio inhibited in the deliberations for the Vizconde case on the ground that he once testified in favor of Webb when he was still the chief presidential legal counsel of former President Fidel Ramos. However, according to Vizconde, he was told by Corona that Carpio was trying to influence other justices to acquit Webb. Incidentally, the writer in that decision was Associate Justice Roberto Abad, who, like Carpio, is also vying for the post vacated by Corona. (JCV/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)