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Robredo to next CJ: Protect the judiciary

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo has asked the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) to protect the judiciary and the institution, which she described as the “pillar of democracy”.

According to Robredo who was in Tinambac town in Camarines Sur on Friday, her message not only goes to Justice Diosdado Peralta — rumored to be the next CJ — but also to anyone who will be appointed to lead the high tribunal.

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“There are reports that someone has been appointed, but it was not yet released officially, it points to Justice Peralta. For me, the message is the same, not only for the chief justice, but for the whole judiciary […] to ensure the protection of people’s rights,” Robredo told reporters.

“It is not a question of (protecting) the parties to each case, but it is the obligation of those in power to protect the whole judicial system. Because if people lose trust in the judicial system, it would impale the whole institution,” she added.

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Previously, a national broadsheet claimed that sources said Peralta has been appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte. However, people close to Duterte like Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Senator Bong Go clarified that Duterte has yet to choose the next chief justice.

Peralta, who was interviewed by the Judicial and Bar Council last October 3, said that his nomination as the next chief justice would give hope for justices like him — those who were neither a bar topnotcher nor an honor student.

If chosen, Peralta would succeed former Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, who retired on Thursday.

“Whether justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or the lower courts, I hope they remember this: that in every case they decide on, the parties are only incidental. What’s more important is how to protect the whole institution,” Robredo said.

READ: Peralta on being next CJ: ‘There is hope for an individual like me’ 

Recent news have focused on Robredo — a lawyer by profession — and SC, as the electoral protest lodged by Robredo’s opponent in the 2016 presidential elections, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, moves on.

SC is sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET). Days prior to Robredo’s message, SC decided to release the initial recount results from the three pilot provinces selected by Marcos. Both camps were also ordered to comment on the issue, and on the possible recount of provinces in Mindanao.

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Marcos claims that he was cheated by Robredo in 2016, after the latter edged the son of late dictator former President Ferdinand Marcos by less than 280,000 votes./ac

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