Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta was the first to be interviewed by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) as it started screening applicants for the positions to be left vacant by two retiring Supreme Court (SC) justices.
There are seven candidates for the posts to be vacated by Associate Justices Jose Perez and Arturo Brion.
Acosta, reported to be a frontrunner because President Rodrigo Duterte himself asked her to apply, said she can be an asset in the high court with her experience and credibility as a litigation lawyer and as a former employee of the judiciary.
“My credibility cannot be bought, my credibility can be attested to by the people and by my bosses in the judiciary. What I can bring to the SC is my credibility and my experience as chief of the Public Attorney’s Office,” she stressed.
If chosen, the PAO chief said she will be an independent justice and will not be beholden to the appointing authority.
“I have shown my independence in my opinions and my handling of cases. My basis is always the rule of law,” she added.
She agreed with the high tribunal’s ruling allowing the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Another applicant, Centro Escolar University law school vice dean Rita Linda Ventura-Jimeno also agreed with the SC ruling.
“My view has nothing to do with my being an Ilocana. It is my respect for the rule of law which tells me the Supreme Court’s decision should be respected, and I do respect it,” she said.
Another strong contender is Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Japar Dimaampao, the only Muslim magistrate in the judiciary.
“By God’s grace, if I would be appointed to the Court, I can help the Court with all humility in avoiding erroneous decisions on sharia which will eventually amount to injustices to Muslims in this country. I can be of help in preventing such possible influx of decisions which are not resolved in accordance with sharia and existing Islamic jurisprudence,” he told the JBC.