The online news portal of TV5
MANILA - Malacanang has distanced itself from the actions of its representative in the Judicial and Bar Council seeking to accommodate Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in the short list of the council's nominees for the next Chief Justice.
"It is not for us to judge the actions of an independent body like the JBC," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Sunday.
"We will defer any comment on the matter as the short list is yet to be submitted for the President's consideration," Valte added.
Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., the House representative to the JBC, admitted that Palace representative Michael Musngi, has been seeking to allow de Lima's inclusion in the short list despite two pending disbarment cases against her.
Tupas said it was "understandable" because Musngi is from the executive branch, being an official of the Office of the President's Office of Special Concerns.
Musngi was appointed by the Palace to the JBC to replace de Lima, who had to inhibit after accepting her nomination to the highest post in the judiciary.
De Lima, along with Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza and Securities and Exchange Commission head Teresita Herbosa, is facing disqualification because of pending cases against them.