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Will SC disqualify VP next?

16 November 2016

Following the Supreme Court’s unpopular decision to allow the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City, speculations are flying that the late dictator’s namesake-son would soon win his protest and dislodge Vice President Leni Robredo.

On November 9, the Supreme Court voted 9-5-1 in favor of giving the late dictator a hero’s burial.
Two days later on Nov. 11, Robredo noted during a speech at the Ateneo de Manila University forum that the current composition of the Supreme Court was friendly to the Marcoses.

At the same time, a ranking member of the Liberal Party (LP), under which Robredo ran and won the vice presidency in the May elections, said Robredo’s fear of being disqualified was not far-fetched, given the signals from President Rodrigo Duterte that he preferred former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as his vice president.

The LP official, who refused to be named, noted President Duterte will be appointing 10 justices to the High Court in the next three years, and that this would certainly influence decision-making of the SC once Marcos’ protest reaches the Court.

Marcos has a pending protest with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), which counts SC justices as members, to disqualify Robredo on grounds of cheating.

The official tally of the May 9 election results showed Robredo with 14,418,817 votes while Marcos had 14,155,344, or a margin of 263,473 votes.

Robredo considered the Court’s decision on the Marcos burial issue as “disappointing, heartbreaking.”

This developed as the judicial reform advocate group Hustisya Natin called for public vigilance for the new justices of the Supreme Court who will be appointed by President Duterte to replace 10 retiring justices in the next three years.

Lawyer Marlon Manuel, chair of the project steering committee of Hustisya Natin said citizens should take an active part in the Judicial Appointments Watch (JAW) as the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) served notice for public panel interviews with candidates filling a post to be left by Justice Jose Perez. Perez is retiring on Dec. 14.

Also retiring between 2017 and 2019 are Justices Arturo Brion, Jose Mendoza, Presbiterio Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Mariano del Castillo, Lucas Bersamin, Antonio Carpio, Bienvenido Reyes and Francis Jardeleza.

Except for Reyes and Jardeleza, these justices were appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Justices Diosdado Peralta and Estela Perlas-Bernabe are due to retire in 2022.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Justices Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa and Mario Victor “Marvic” Leonen are serving terms beyond 2022. These three justices are appointees of former President Benigno Aquino III.

Candidates scheduled for interviews on Nov. 16 for the position of Perez are Persida Rueda-Acosta, Rita Linda Ventura-Jimeno, Rowena Apao-Adlawan, Japar Dimaampao, Samuel Martires, Ricardo Paras III and Noel Tijam.

Other candidates previously interviewed were: Apolinario Bruselas Jr., Rosmari  Carandang, Stephen Cruz, Reynaldo Daway, Alex Quiroz, Andres Reyes Jr. and Jose Reyes Jr.

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