IBP defers decision on De Lima's disbarment cases

MANILA, Philippines - The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) will decide on the disbarment cases of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, a reported frontrunner in the race for the chief justice post, on Monday, August 6.

The IBP was supposed to issue a ruling on the cases Saturday, August 4, but deferred it to give complainants the chance to comment on De Lima's appeal to have the cases dismissed without formal investigation, reliable sources told Rappler.

IBP's decision is crucial because the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is also scheduled to vote on the shortlist of candidates for chief justice on Monday. JBC rules state that applicants and nominees for judiciary posts who have pending administrative and criminal cases must be disqualified from deliberations.

With or without the comments on August 6, however, the IBP board of governors will vote on De Lima's cases before the JBC comes up with its shortlist.

De Lima asked the IBP on August 1 to reconsider its ruling ordering a full-blown probe into the disbarment complaints filed against her. The IBP ruled that the cases have turned into regular administrative cases.

In her motion for reconsideration, de Lima argued that the Supreme Court, which referred the cases to the IBP, did not explicitly state that the complaints had merit.

However, the IBP said the fact that the SC referred the cases indicates otherwise.

Three disbarment complaints had been filed against De Lima. The IBP consolidated two complaints into one since they both cited as basis De Lima's defiance of a Supreme Court temporary restraining order on the travel ban against the Arroyo couple in November 2011.

The other case stemmed from a stinging statement made by de Lima against dismissed chief justice Renato Corona. De Lima called Corona a "tyrant who holds himself above justice and accountability" on national television. - Rappler.com

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