MANILA, Nov. 13, 2012— A Catholic bishop in Mindanao has no problem if chief government peace negotiator Marvic Leonen will be appointed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said that appointing Leonen to the SC is President Benigno Aquino III’s prerogative anyway and must be respected.
“The president is given that mandate by the Constitution. I have no problem with it,” Jumoad said.
What is important, the bishop said, is that whoever will be appointed to the SC should judge with fairness and integrity and true to the spirit of the law.
“The moment Dean Leonen accepts it he must act independently and be neutral. He must not even take a ‘debt of gratitude’ to the appointing power,” said Jumoad.
“His decision must always be grounded on the Constitution. If he disregards the law, Congress is there to impeach him,” he added.
Leonen was said to be leading the shortlist of candidates prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council who have the chance to fill the lone vacancy in the SC.
He got seven votes from the eight-member council along with Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres Reyes, CA Associate Justice Rosemari Carandan and former Energy secretary Raphael Lotilla.
Aquino has until Nov. 22 to appoint the new Associate Justice from the shortlist, which also includes Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres Reyes and CA Associate Justices Rosemari Carandang, former Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, Jose Reyes and Noel Tijam, and De La Salle University College of Law Dean Jose Manuel Diokno. (CBCPNews)