CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is “lobbying” with President Benigno Aquino the appointment of a senior member of her staff as a Sandiganbayan justice.
The anti-graft court post for Sereno’s chief protocol officer, Zaldy Trespeses, according to a Malacang source of The Manila Times, is the Chief Justice reward for declaring constitutional the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
“With more reason now, EDCA’s constitutionality was upheld, [Sereno] will have a trading to make,” the source said on Wednesday.
Trespeses is called “Umbrella Boy” by other Supreme Court justices because he often carries an “umbrella” to protect the Chief Justice from the sun or rain during open-door functions.
Trespeses being named Sandiganbayan justice is “demoralizing” for many others who have been in the judiciary much longer than him,” one justice remarked.
As chief protocol officer, Trespeses, a lawyer, carries the title Chief Justice Staff Head II.
Sereno was slammed by other justices for pushing for her protocol officer despite absence of “deep credentials.”
It was learned that she is planning to appoint her staff in vital positions in the judiciary for fear that she will be “impeached” from her post once Aquino is out of office.
Another staff of Sereno, Renelie Mayuga, was appointed as Judicial Reform Program Administrator in the Program Management Office (PMO).
Under Memorandum Order 37-2015 dated October 15, 2015, the Chief Justice transferred the PMO head, Judge Geraldine Faith Econg, and replaced her with Mayuga, also a lawyer.
Econg now heads the Philippine Mediation Center.
The Times has received information from a court insider that Sereno’s chief of staff, lawyer Maria Lourdes Oliveros, will vie for the vacant position of Assistant Court Administrator vice lawyer Thelma Bahia, who was promoted as Deputy Court Administrator.