Guevarra: Impeach raps vs Justices won't affect candidacy for CJ post

By Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he believes that the impeachment complaint against four Supreme Court (SC) magistrates will not affect their candidacy for the post of chief justice.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra announces during a press briefing in Malacañang that the matter concerning the closure of the resorts in Boracay is currently one of the top priorities that are being discussed by the cabinet citing that it would not only concern the environmental aspect of the issue but the economic impact as well. (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“In my personal opinion, the mere filing of an impeachment complaint, which is not the same as a criminal or administrative complaint in the ordinary sense, will not have any effect on the nomination of the four SC justices for the CJ position,” said Guevarra who is the ex officio vice chairperson of the Judicial and Bar Council.

Opposition lawmakers yesterday have filed before the House of Representative's impeachment complaints against eight SC justices who voted for the ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Those being sought to be impeached are Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Andres Reyes Jr., Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam and Alexander Gesmundo.

Among the eight, those vying for the seat as chief justice are de Castro, Peralta, Bersamin, and Reyes. Apart from them, the only other candidate seeking the vacant post is regional trial court (RTC) Judge Virginia Tehano-Ang of Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

The JBC, which is tasked under the Constitution to screen applicants for the judiciary, is already set to vote this Friday (August 24) as who to include in the shortlist which will be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for selection.

Duterte is mandated, under the Constitution, to make his choice within 90 days from June 19 when the Supreme Court (SC) affirmed its ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Last May 11, the SC voted 8-6 to grant the quo warranto petition of Solicitor General Jose Calida which sought to void Sereno’s 2012 appointment as Chief Justice for having failed to submit her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) which was one of the requirements set by the JBC.