When he was designated chairman of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on April 30, 2014, Winston Ginez found himself defending his appointment, which critics said was a reward for his participation in the 2012 impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
But then he was not the only private prosecutor at that trial who ended up with a government post. Also appointed were private prosecutors Al Parreño (who also came from the LTFRB) and Arthur Lim, both of whom are now Comelec commissioners. A third, Jose Justiniano, was named Justice undersecretary. Former House prosecution panel manager Joseph Emilio Abaya, meanwhile, is now Transportation and Communications secretary.
Ginez replaced Jaime Jacob, who resigned as LTFRB chairman in March 2014 after two years of service.
Under Ginez’s leadership, the LTFRB has conducted regular inspection of buses to reduce the number of colorum units and make sure that bus companies comply with the policies. The bureau has since suspended many bus lines.
Ginez graduated valedictorian in his accounting and law classes at the San Beda College, and placed third in the 1995 Bar exams. He was a law professor at San Beda from 1997 to 2005. From 2006 to 2007, he served as acting president of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasay.
He had a short stint as auditor at Punongbayan & Araullo before he studied law. He then worked as a litigation, corporate and tax lawyer at ACCRA Law. In 1999, he became vice president for legal and corporate affairs at the Pacific Ace Management Corp. In 2003, he founded the Quial Ginez Paras & Beltran law office (now Quial Beltran & Yu law office) together with three other lawyers. He was also once the chief of staff of Government Service Insurance System trustee Jesse H.T. Andres.
Leila de Lima
This would be the second time Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has been eyed to head the Commission on Elections where her father was once chairman. In 2011, de Lima’s name was also floated as possible successor to then outgoing Comelec Chairman Jose Armando R. Melo.
In October 2014, de Lima topped a survey of the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) for possible replacements for Brillantes. She obtained nearly two-thirds of the vote, followed by incumbent Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia and former Supreme Court Justice Nachura.
De Lima was a distinguished election lawyer before Arroyo appointed her as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in May 2008. In 2007, she became part of the Supreme Court’s sub-committee on election rules alongside fellow election lawyers Brillantes, Romulo Macalintal and Pete Cadra. These election lawyers, including de Lima, earlier called the attention of the Supreme Court to alleged anomalies in trial courts with regard to handling of poll cases. The sub-committee proposed new rules of procedure in election contests before the courts involving elected municipal and barangay (village) officials.
When Aquino took office in 2010, he selected de Lima to lead the Justice department. De Lima became infamous for defying the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order that allowed Arroyo to travel abroad in 2011. Because of this, three disbarment complaints were filed against de Lima in 2012, which in turn jeopardized her nomination for the post of Supreme Court Chief Justice that had been vacated by Corona.
De Lima began her law practice working as a legal staff in the Office of Supreme Court Justice Isagani Cruz for three years. She moved to private practice in 1989, working at different law firms until 1998, including the law offices founded by former Solicitor General and now Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza and former Sen Raul Roco.
In July 1998, she and a colleague established De Lima & Meñez law office, where she was managing partner until March 2007.
Martin Meñez was de Lima’s head executive assistant and became director in 2013 of the DOJ’s Witness Protection, Security, and Benefit Program (Witness Protection Program).
In January 2014, The Manila Times reported that de Lima, an ex-officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council, had lobbied for Meñez’s inclusion as a candidate for associate justice of the Court of Appeals. The Internal Rules of the JBC, which screens applicants for positions in the judiciary, automatically disqualifies candidates“with pending criminal or regular administrative cases, and criminal cases in foreign courts or tribunal, or who had been convicted in any criminal or administrative case where the penalty imposed is at least a fine of more than P10,000, unless he/she has been granted judicial clemency.”
Meñez, The Times said, “is a respondent in the case docketed under IS XVI-INV-IBF-00200, titled Jorge G. Cruz vs. Rufo Colayco, Martin Meñez, et al.” involving alleged falsification of land titles. Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, JBC chairperson, reportedly ignored the pending case against Meñez, who was even shortlisted by the JBC, “to make de Lima happy.”
From 1993 to 1995, de Lima was secretary of the Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives. She has also handled classes on election law, business organizations, persons and family relations, statutory construction and introduction to law, among others, at San Beda College of Law.
To be continued