De Lima’s possible exclusion: is karma finally catching up?

Personally, I am not that big on superstitions. Some people tell me not to put my school bag on the floor, or else I’ll become dumb or something, but I hardly pay attention. After all, my school bag is always on the floor during classes, anyway. Occasionally, some folks will warn me against trimming my nails in the evening or I’ll attract bad luck, but I still do anyway. Sometimes, they will warn me against leaving the house at Friday the 13th, but I see the date as nothing more than an ordinary day. I’ve encountered lots of superstitions from different people in the course of my existence, but the most striking one must be the so-called Law of Karma.

No offense to those who fully believe in the law (and I have no problems with those who believe it), but I’ve yet to encounter a foolproof scientific study that confirms the existence of such a law. Sure, every now and then bad people eventually receive what they deserve, but the results favorable to the Law of Karma are offset by bad things unfairly happening to good people or good things happening to jerks. And in order for a scientific theory to remain accepted, a counter-instance that defies the said theory must not exist.

Still, despite my skepticism regarding the scientific validity of karma, I adapt it as a major component of my moral compass; some sort of a motivation to do good stuff to others. And it often works for me and other people, so I’m quite fine with the way things are.

For another person though, it would seem nature’s justice system isn’t treating her well. Look no further than the embattled Justice Secretary Leila de Lima facing the possibility of exclusion from the Chief Justice selection process. For lack of a better word (or perhaps, this is the best word), it would seem that karma has finally caught on Malacañang’s most prominent brats.

You might remember de Lima as one of president Noynoy Aquino’s most trusted cronies, whining and complaining like a spoiled child about the prospects of working as the chief magistrate of the Supreme Court. Recalling some of her past statements:

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said she was not “personally interested” in the Chief Justice position but said she would have to think on her options.

“Although, I can always adjust to any environment or atmosphere. I can be professional. Pero doon ako nag-aalangan and whether at this point I’m ready to head such a crucial institution such as the Supreme Court,” she said, but added that she would also talk to President Aquino about it.

And so the days passed when de Lima’s refusal to become Chief Justice, and then it was as if the world turned upside-down.

Following the controversies generated by Corona’s removal from office last month, De Lima said “what the judiciary needs is an effective and trusted leader capable of transforming the institution into a citadel of hope.”

“That, to me, is the call of the times,” she said. “I sincerely believe that, at the minimum, I have my character and resolve as a person, and my track record and passion as a public servant, to offer for such a crucial and revered post.”

Like magic, de Lima is suddenly craving for the top job, which would make you really doubt the sincerity of her past sentiments about being Chief Justice. But wait—do I see this particular phrase in her speech?

“I have my character and resolve as a person, and my track record—”

Hold it right there. As it turns out, de Lima’s track record isn’t as clean and brag-worthy as it seems. And this might cost her the coveted SC position.

The ghost of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona haunts the reputed front-runner for the vacant position.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) it will be unfair to exclude her from the short list of three candidates for the next Chief Justice on the basis of a disbarment case against her.

(Source: Link)

As some people would say, you can never outrun the past. She’s had her fill of persecuting the ex-Chief Justice Renato Corona behind and in front of the cameras. She’s had her share of publicity and image-building. But now, it would seem, is her turn to take some of the heat and take responsibility for her actions like a man… figuratively.

Apparently, one of the guidelines of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) in selecting the short list for the Chief Justice candidates (to be chosen by your beloved president) is that the lucky aspirants should have zero pending or regular administrative cases filed against them in the time of their nomination.

Sec.  5. Disqualification.-  The following are disqualified from being nominated for appointment to any judicial post or as Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman:

1.  Those with pending criminal or regular administrative cases;

2.  Those with pending criminal cases in foreign courts or tribunals; and 3.  Those who have been convicted in any criminal case; or in an administrative case, where the penalty imposed is at least a fine of more than P10,000, unless he has been granted judicial clemency.

(Source: Link)

De Lima has fallen short of this requirement.

The Justice Secretary, as of this writing, is accused of violating the lawyers’ code of conduct when she bashed Renato Corona here and there during his impeachment trial, putting her at risk of losing her chance of nabbing the job of Chief Justice. Now with a major change of heart, de Lima swiftly proceeded to contesting the judgment of the JBC.

During her interview before the JBC last Tuesday, De Lima disagreed with Peralta’s view that in accordance with “practice,” the preliminary determination of merit by the IBP applies only to disbarment complaints filed directly with it and not cases referred to it by the Court.

“With all due respect, legal action cannot be based on mere ‘practice,’ as such does not satisfy the demands of justice and fair play; it can only be based on law and rules,” she said.

I must admit that what de Lima said about legal action only being based on law and rules is rich, coming from her. Anyway, de Lima expounded on her counter-argument, raising the issue of whether her case is already deemed meritorious and so, eligible to be called a legit case against her.

De Lima explained that the mere referral of her case to the IBP did not mean that the Court had already found the complaint meritorious. She noted that the cases against her were filed by other persons.

Since the complaint was referred to the IBP, De Lima said the Court only ruled that the case was “meritorious for further proceedings” but left it to the IBP to determine if the complaint itself was meritorious. This meant there was no pending complaint against her to speak of since the IBP has not initiated any proceedings on the case, she added.”

To add, she also emphasized the supposedly political nature of the administrative complaint filed against her.

The Secretary reiterated her earlier stand that the complaints against her pertained to the performance of her official duty as an alter ego of the President and enjoyed a “strong” presumption of regularity. Thus, she added, the complaints were political in nature.

Finally, de Lima used the classic blame game to shift the sin to the justice system for solving things too long.

De Lima also repeated that it was not her fault the disbarment complaints against her have not been resolved by the time the JBC comes out with a shortlist. She said it was nearly half a year later that the complaint against her was referred to the IBP.

I do not claim to be an expert on law, but I admit I have a couple of problems with de Lima’s soporifically lengthy argument. First, while the intention behind the complaint filed against de Lima is beyond me, I do know that issues about lawyer conduct aren’t exactly political.

CANON 8 – A LAWYER SHALL CONDUCT HIMSELF WITH COURTESY, FAIRNESS AND CANDOR TOWARDS HIS PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES, AND SHALL AVOID HARASSING TACTICS AGAINST OPPOSING COUNSEL.

Rule 8.01 – A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.

(Source: Link)

And we all know about those snide remarks de Lima issued against the embattled Corona during his biggest ordeal. As far as the code of conduct is concerned, this particular complaint against de Lima is not totally devoid of merit.

And now that we are on the topic of merit, I find it highly suspicious that de Lima only talks about the merit of the said complaint. She keeps explaining that just because the Court ruled that the case is “meritorious for further proceedings” doesn’t make the case itself meritorious. Of course, this is assuming that what de Lima said is true. But even if you assume such thing, there is the issue of the existence of a pending complaint that can invalidate an aspirant’s eligibility for the position of Chief Justice. What does “pending” mean?

If something such as a legal procedure is pending, it is waiting to be dealt with or settled. 

(Source: Link)

De Lima said that since the IBP allegedly hasn’t begun proceedings for the complaint, then there is no pending complaint to begin with. But what becomes of the existence of the said administrative complaint when its nature is also “waiting for judgment?” What do you call it; a pre-pending complaint? Following de Lima’s logic, it would appear that filing a complaint might not be a legal procedure after all, since it is not covered by any legal proceedings.

But then, according to her, the Court ruled that the case is “meritorious for further proceedings.” Does this mean that the proceedings for the case as a whole have already begun, and that the case is eligible for further scrutiny? Then, won’t that mean that the complaint is already pending by her own line of reasoning?

Finally, suppose that the IBP has ruled the complaint itself as “meritorious.” Would it still be a pending complaint, or a regular complaint? Remember that a pending complaint is an unresolved case. Does this mean that there is a pending pending complaint? De Lima has not explained this part quite clearly, which is weird for someone avidly defending her privilege of being a nominee for Chief Justice.

In any case, this argument of hers might spark a little debate on how complaints really work. Also, in any case, de Lima has finally had a taste of what it feels like to have a hard time with the law, which she so nonchalantly defied all these years, defying TROs and all.

Then again, maybe through PNoy, or even divine intervention, de Lima will still get the job in the end. Maybe, according to GRP writer Ben Kritz, de Lima being elected as Chief Justice might even be the lesser evil, given how screwed up the judicial elections are already.

But still, it’s times like this that I wish the Law of Karma is absolutely real.

 

 

 

 

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About Arche

I'm just throwing ideas around. I also love coffee.

Post Author: Arche

I'm just throwing ideas around. I also love coffee.

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48 Comments on "De Lima’s possible exclusion: is karma finally catching up?"

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roi
Guest

For the time being, let us have “cease fire” with Madam de Lima. She is a grieving daughter for the loss of her father. Let us be Christian not to take delight over sad turn of events for others. Just my two-cents-worth.

BenK
Editor

That is irrelevant to the issue of her fitness for the Supreme Court.

ChinoF
Member

Don’t know if that event can be called karma by some. But I’ll also extend my condolences to her as due respect.

After that anyway, it’ll be back to facing the music.

Eli Amor De Guzman
Guest

Well, i assumed the governmnent is thinking that it was GMA’s fault that injustice sec. de lima ‘s father died whoa! just kidding….

BenK
Editor

I don’t know how the members of the JBC think, but I have to wonder if her convoluted arguments give anyone pause. Imagine the confusion actual Supreme Court rulings written in this style might cause.

Besides that, she just comes across as being so crooked she has to use an auger to install her skirt in the morning.

Arche
Guest

Well, this article has nothing to do with her father, nor do we intend to make fun of his passing or use it to put de Lima in a negative light. She has my sympathies. This is solely an observation regarding her attempts to become Chief Justice.

BenK
Editor

Apparently, the IBP has decided to go ahead and *disambiguate* her stupid pending/not pending argument, and formalize her case: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/07/30/12/de-limas-hopes-be-cj-dashed

Arche
Guest

Huh. I was expecting that her appeal will be junked, but not this fast. Then again, if I’m not mistaken, the final voting for the short list is already on Thursday. 🙂

jcc
Guest
a corrupt ibp investigating de lima for pointing out that the SC is corrupt is being ‘disbarred.’ they do not want a legal reformist in the supreme court by using this cheap charade that she has an administrative case because of her spat with the supreme court and therefore not qualified to be a chief justice. her disbarment arose from her statement about the TRO issued by the SC paving the way for GMA/husband to travel abroad. like the retired woman justice ameurfina hererra, de lima is another woman who has balls who can call a spade a spade and… Read more »
itchyBB
Guest

Is a legal reformist someone who defies the law? Is (s)he someone who acts on hearsay without proper investigation? Is (s)he someone who bash on people in public instead in proper courts? Is (s)he someone who fails to follow the rule of law?

In my non-lawyer mind, that is “animalistic”. Oh sorry, animals have better structure than humans in terms of leadership, loyalty and trust. Very humanly indeed 🙂

Amir Al Bahr
Guest

Ho hum, jcc whining once again about how the IBP and Philippine SC allegedly screwed him over. And just because of that he wants to see the whole judiciary burn…

jcc, what part of the statement below don’t you understand?

“A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.”

Daido Katsumi
Guest

‘no wonder the country is going to the dogs!’

Then you’re talking to yourself. You and the rest of your fellow dogs are the reason why this country is going down. What you favor is ‘mob rule’.

And no, de Lima as CJ would never bring honesty and integrity since she’s also Noynoy’s lap dog. Are you a leftist like de Lima? Just asking. 😛

Daido Katsumi
Guest

jcc is like this:

“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

jcc
Guest
heheehe.. you did not address the “money trail issue”. why not audit the judicial welfare funds and the ibp fees to see that the people you entrusted with the law are also addicted with money? de lima can bring a reformist agenda in the court but the process is loaded in favor of the ‘tayo-tayo’ system, and bringing her in will rattle the snakepit. here is my comment on PDI column of Justice A. Panganiban: “An outsider, especially a young one who would dislodge those waiting for their turn, would naturally find difficulty leading the high court and reforming the… Read more »
Arche
Guest
Sorry to burst your bubble, Mr. jcc, but I just wanna ask you if you’d rather stay on topic. Whether the JBC and IBP are corrupt is irrelevant, as far as this article is concerned. So yes, so much for your sob story about how crappy the judicial system is. The point is this; de Lima committed a violation (which led to an administrative complaint being filed against her) that prevented her from making it to the short list. The rules of JBC explicitly state that an aspirant is disqualified if he/she has pending or regular cases filed against him/her.… Read more »
Arche
Guest

Correction: Is their decision to follow their own rules…

pussyfoot
Guest

She had the courage to bash the supreme court because she is leaning behind a strong wall. And that wall will be the one to control the entire judiciary once de lima sits as chief justice.

pussyfoot
Guest

Maybe you have a point there but once a cj is already chosen, you can’t spare any potential of corruption in him, may he o she be an outsider considering the already corrupt system he/she will be joining, same old people, same old system

pussyfoot
Guest

However, if it is surely that she
herself is already where the buck stops with then be it, anyway the articles of impeachment against her is ready.

jcc
Guest
arche, if only you can broaden your horizon you may find that my posts are relevant in your topic. you sneered at delima finally getting karmic justice and being a spoiled brat but you wont want to hear a contrary view that her being disqualified in the short list was a well-planned and a cheap charade so as not to rattle the snakepit. if only you know how these jurists cooked-up a case of high profile litigants and you have interacted with the supreme court and found that the situation is very far from ideal, you would understand the ‘tirade’… Read more »
Arche
Guest
The key word here is contextualization, Mr. jcc. 🙂 1. De Lima violated the rules of lawyer conduct by defying a TRO and publicly defacing a judicial figure. This is objectively true. It doesn’t matter whether Corona is evil, whether de Lima is an angel, whether JBC/IBP is corrupt, whether PNoy still has hair; de Lima violated a law and must face the consequences. 2. So how does this relate to your conspiracy theory that the judiciary is ganging on de Lima with respect to my article? What is the point my article is trying to establish anyway? The fact… Read more »
jcc
Guest

how did she come to violate the law when she speaks her minds about the conditions in the judiciary? the crime of ‘irreverrence’ against the gods of mt. olympus? hahaha… totoy, you were bringing back the imperial days of the marcoses where making tsismis about the new society is considered a crime..

where is your concept of free speech?

Arche
Guest
You’re a lawyer, or so you claim to be. CANON 8 – A LAWYER SHALL CONDUCT HIMSELF WITH COURTESY, FAIRNESS AND CANDOR TOWARDS HIS PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES, AND SHALL AVOID HARASSING TACTICS AGAINST OPPOSING COUNSEL. Do you see anything here that says “no lawyer can criticize a public official”? No. But calling the ex-Chief Justice a “lawless tyrant” in public during the impeachment trial isn’t exactly my idea of courteous dissent. The law seems to agree with me this time. As I said, you’re free to rant on the law and espouse reforms, but that won’t undo de Lima’s offense. Sigh,… Read more »
benign0
Admin
attorney jcc (attorney spelled with a small “a”): Using your logic (the allegedly corrupt have no right to investigate), we can then conclude that the House of Representatives had no right to lodge a complaint versus Renato Corona and the Senate had no right to serve as judge in his trial. Applying the principle Arche has reiterated to you for the second time, the alleged corruption of our legislators is a separate topic that we treated as beside the point, even as we closely evaluated the quality of the way they dispensed their roles as “senator-judges” during the impeachment trial… Read more »
jcc
Guest

of course the corrupt can investigate the corrupt… but you were assuming that delima is corrupt.

or the corrupt investigates the uncorrupted to make her see the way of the corrupt.

a footnote in history.. ambassador quintero exposed the bribery made by marcos to the delegates of the 1972 con-con. quintero ended up being investigated, harrassed and books thrown at him.

de lima upbraided the powerful supreme court and it is fighting back through all sorts of channels, and of all things ‘disbarment.’ come on benign0, you know one plus one.

Anonimo
Guest

JCC was censured by the judiciary. In return, he calls the judiciary corrupt and anyone who agrees with him, kindred censured souls like De Lima, are not corrupt.

This makes me laugh.

jcc
Guest

don’t you know that rizal was censured also by the spaniards? bonifacio considered by the magdalo court a traitor? that marcos did not murder nalundasan? lucio tan not a tax evader.. that the palea employees were legitimately retrenched from their jobs?

so you think the SC infallible? welcome to SC-drolling sycophant club.

Anonimo
Guest
Now you attempt to liken yourself to Rizal and Bonifacio. Very funny indeed. Tell us what big threat did you pose against the ones in power that would trigger a panicky censure like that meted to Rizal? Can you honestly tell us that people conspired against you like the Magdalo to Bonifacio? (Although I can imagine you figuratively drawing your gun to make a cheap shot at an official, and that made you look very bad.) You can only issue a blanket accusation to the Judiciary, the Supreme Court, the institutions, all of them corrupt! Unlike law student Marcos, your… Read more »
jcc
Guest
she saw cj corona a tyrant by his rulings. it is in connection with the official function of her office that she uttered this accusation and it was not entirely baseless because he and his colleagues ruled precipitously in favor of GMA. it is her perception that CJ Corona is a tyrant. you cannot use that canon rule as a sort of sword of damocles to threaten anyone who question the wisdom of your ruling. otherwise you are free to rule almost arbitrarily without fear that you would be made to account for your ruling. besides she made that comment… Read more »
Arche
Guest
Don’t you have anything more to add? You’re basically saying the same thing again and again; free speech, de Lima, free speech, yadda, yadda, yadda. No. One. Is. Infringing. Right. To. Free. Speech. 🙂 But there is a consequence for slandering someone’s reputation upon which his vocation primarily rests. Yes, slander, unless you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Corona is in cahoots with GMA. Let’s just hide this idea under the phrase… taking responsibility for what you say in TV as a public official. I do wonder though; how can Corona be a tyrant when his… Read more »
jcc
Guest
totoy, you’ve got some anger problem aside from perception. the gma-travel tro was not in may, but sometime in december.. her statement was made in reference to the botched tro in that month. court rulings (several of them actually) say that public officials must not be too onion-skinned. they must accept criticisms to bring sunlight into the dark areas governance. supreme court justices belong to this genre of public officials. de lima did not lose her free speech after becoming a lawyer.. and according to court ruling also, it is better abused than curtailed. free speech is a weapon against… Read more »
Arche
Guest
Anger problems? You actually think you’re making me angry? Tee-hee, that’s rich. 😛 “the gma-travel tro was not in may, but sometime in december.. her statement was made in reference to the botched tro in that month.” So? Corona is still the Chief Justice back then. De Lima’s remark is still aimed at Corona, which legitimizes the administrative complaint filed against her in consonance with the rules of lawyer conduct. Also, why bring this up? “court rulings (several of them actually) say that public officials must not be too onion-skinned. they must accept criticisms to bring sunlight into the dark… Read more »
jcc
Guest
during the time of marcos two jurists were involved in the bar scandal to favor the examinee, the son of the jurists. marcos, to save the court asked all of them to resign and accepted only the resignations of two jurists who were involved. another jurist penned a decision written by the lawyer of a big telephone company. the media was outrage, the jurist resigned posthaste. during marcos times, jurists were in cahoots with him. after 1886 they were all asked to resign from their positions. cory appointed new court justices. during cory’s time, marcelo fernan was involved in scandal… Read more »
Anonimo
Guest

Might as well say outright that the idea of a judiciary as a separate but co-equal branch of government is misguided and unfeasible and judicial powers should return to the King

jcc
Guest

the marcos’s court said that the soldier-escorts of ninoy aquino were not responsible for his death. the cory’s court said these soldiers murdered him.

there is only on truth. that he was either killed by his escorts or not. you can make your pick, which court was corrupt, it does not matter to me as long as it proves that one court must be corrupt.

jcc
Guest

you cannot still connect the dots arche… the ibp is an extension of the sc through unofficial channels. ibp are lawyers whose career paths are 90 per cent geared to becoming justices of the high courts. you must have the “in-culture” (tayo-tayo sysem) to pave your ambition towards that path.

de lima is a sc basher. anyone who can cut down de lima to sizes becomes acceptable to the sc. so the ibp, or whoever lawyer who filed this disbarment must have his eyes towards that lucrative career path. or he was trying to hugh the limelight for career-enhancement.

Arche
Guest
Would it be okay for you if this is my last reply? Whether the JBC and IBP are corrupt is irrelevant, as far as this article is concerned. The point is this; de Lima committed a violation (which led to an administrative complaint being filed against her) that prevented her from making it to the short list. The rules of JBC explicitly state that an aspirant is disqualified if he/she has pending or regular cases filed against him/her. I am speaking from an objective perspective, as I am not a member of JBC or IBP, nor do I have connections… Read more »
benign0
Admin

Still talking about people, attorney (with a small “a”)? What De Lima did — defying a Supreme Court order — is grounds for disbarment regardless of the personal agendas of the members of the IBP. Their personal agendas are beside the point, whereas De Lima’s violation is a point in and of itself.

It’s simple, really™ — though not for the small-minded.

jcc
Guest

so you are changing the topic that she is being disbarred not for ‘calling cj corona a tyrant’ but for disobeying the tro?

supposed she is cleared that she was not disobeying it but simply was not properly served with the TRO?

you already disqualified her from the CJ list while she was not proven yet to have disobeyed anything.

you were stickler for due process in case of corona, but you have already punished de lima who has yet to be processed if she was guilty of anything by effectively barring her from being considered a candidate for cj.

jeanne
Guest
The way I see it, she could have been delayed or disqualified for both reasons, whichever comes first. I believe she has complaint or cases for both issues. One issue was already resolved and resulted in her disqualification. De Lima might had been cleared in the future but today, she is facing complaints about her statement (the lawless tyrant) and her actions (defying the TRO). Those complaints are reasons why she was disqualified because it is stated in the rules that there should no pending complaints against a candidate, as was stated before. I believe Justice Peralta brought this issue… Read more »
itchyBB
Guest

The fact that there are pending cases merits a disqualification. It is not about politics or personal vendetta. It is simply following the guidelines of the process. I do not understand why we have to twist the ruling in favor of a specific group.
Let’s try to remove the characters involved in the situation but focus on the situation itself. Then maybe this will clear things up.

jcc
Guest

so if you want somebody not to be considered as chief justice, all you have to do is to file a frivolous complaint during the deliberation of the JBC and voila!!!! – justice is served!

itchyBB
Guest

Uhmm, how was it frivolous when there are public records of these violations? She’s already been given enough leeway to answer the complaints. IBP already ruled in the merit of the complaints.

The way I see it, it is the same as promotions in private sectors. If the criteria for an internal position is the past 3 months scorecards, then a woman who just came back from maternity leave will immediately not qualify for the post since the minimum criteria is a 3-month scorecard.

And BTW, employment is decided upon by the employer not by the aspiring employee. Beggars cannot be choosers.

jeanne
Guest

Hey Arche.
Been out of the GRP for a while. Thank God I read your article. As usual, you hit the nail on the head. Been follwing the exchanges you had with JCC. Very interesting to say the least.

Arche
Guest

Hello, jeanne. Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

flax
Guest

One thing’s for sure in those exchanges – you can see a guy who proves his point by sticking to the premises and another who changes the premises to stick to his point.

Jacques
Guest

Very nicely and appropriately said, flax. Had there been a like button for comments here, I’d have clicked on it immediately. 🙂

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[…] While the search for missing Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo continues, the esteemed President Noynoy Aquino seems to have another dilemma to ponder on; having to choose the next Chief Justice from the Judicial and Bar Council’s shortlist after his most trusted sidekick, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, got booted out due to her pending administrative cases in what seemed to be a stroke of karma. […]

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