MANILA, Philippines–Justice Secretary Leila De Lima accepted the nomination for the Chief Justice post saying she is “up to the challenge.”
“What the judiciary needs is an effective and trusted leader. That, to me, is the call of the times. And so, after a deeper reflection and further consultations with my family and close confidants, and amidst my initial hesitance and apprehensions, I now feel that I will be up to the challenge and will now take on the challenge,” De Lima said at a text message sent to reporters.
The justice secretary said she arrived at the decision after she spoke with President Benigno Aquino III last Friday.
“I’ll be honored to submit myself to the scrutiny of my peers at the [Judicial and Bar Council] and the general public, for eventual consideration of the President,” De Lima said.
“I sincerely believe that at the minimum, I have my character and resolve as a person, and my track record and passion as a public servant to offer for such a crucial and revered post,” she added.
De Lima is believed to be one of the strongest contenders to replace the ousted Renato Corona for the top judicial post.
She is one of the nominees who received the most number of nominations. Some of those who nominated her are the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption through its head Dante Jimenez, former Defense Secretary Avelino “Nonong” Cruz, Lawyers Rogelio Limare and Reynaldo Bagatsing.
To firm up her decision, De Lima said she went to the Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine to pray.
“I went to Our Lady of Manaoag (Shrine on Sunday) morning. (I) prayed hard and sought for further enlightenment and blessing,” she said, adding:
“I always do that whenever (I) need to make crucial decisions and confronted with major challenges. Mama Mary is my constant source of guiding light.”
If appointed by the President, De Lima would be the first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in its 111 years of existence.
Following the controversies generated by Corona’s removal from office on May 29, De Lima said “what the judiciary needs is an effective and trusted leader.”
“That, to me, is the call of the times,” the justice secretary said.
“I sincerely believe that, at the minimum, I have my character and resolve as a person, and my track record and passion as a public servant, to offer for such a crucial and revered post,” she added.