Press Release
June 25, 2012


Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today said that a disbarment case should not be sufficient ground to disqualify nominees for Chief Justice.

"I don't think the pendency of a disbarment case against any lawyer or jurist should automatically disqualify anyone for nomination as Chief Justice," Pimentel said.

"The members of the Judicial and Bar Council should look into the circumstances of the disbarment case and determine the substance of the complaint, as some disbarment cases are clearly aimed for no other purpose than pure harassment," the senator pointed out.

Pimentel said that of the names being mentioned as leading contenders for Chief Justice, it is Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who faces a disbarment case for ignoring the Supreme Court temporary restraining order or TRO issued in November last year against the waitlist order on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and spouse Mike Arroyo.

"The disbarment complaint against Secretary de Lima is a classic case of political harassment and meant to deter her from performing her duties," Pimentel said.

"It would be a grave injustice for highly qualified individuals to be automatically denied nomination as Chief Justice simply because they face a disbarment complaint," the senator from Mindanao said, adding that some disbarment complaints had been thrown out since these were absolutely without any basis and aimed solely at character assassination.

"The JBC should look at the entire qualifications of the nominees for Chief Justice. The Constitution provides that members of the judiciary must be of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence. The new Chief Justice should be all that and perhaps even more," Pimentel said.

The new Chief Justice, Pimentel said, should also have "proven leadership skills and be able to unite the judiciary behind a clear program of meaningful reforms."

News Latest News Feed