By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News | 11/21/2012 6:29 PM
MANILA (UPDATE) - Marvic Leonen has taken his oath as Supreme Court Associate Justice.
Leonen took his oath before President Aquino just as Malacañang was announcing his appointment to the High Court Wednesday afternoon.
Present during the oath-taking were Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad, among others.
In a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Aquino considered Leonen’s role as the government’s chief peace negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in naming him as Supreme Court Associate Justice.
“I think his confidence in him as somebody who was able to forge the framework agreement was a consideration. The fact that he has worked with him for several months on the framework agreement gave him an idea of the views, at least, the thought process of Dean Marvic Leonen… The fact that the President was able to work with Dean Marvic Leonen was certainly a factor that the President considered,” Lacierda said.
The Palace made the announcement only a couple of hours after Aquino interviewed Leonen. Lacierda said Leonen was not a “shoo-in” for the post, with the President having interviewed the six other nominees for the post.
“It was a very deliberative process on his part. It was not a shoo-in on the part of Dean Marvic Leonen,” Lacierda said.
Lacierda said MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal had written to Leonen, supporting his nomination as associate justice. Aquino was furnished this letter today by presidential peace adviser Ging Deles.
“We will try to find the letter of Chairman Iqbal to Dean Marvic Leonen where it was also stated that the MILF peace panel can work with any chairman of any gender,” Lacierda said.
Aquino may choose from the current government peace panel the replacement for Leonen as chief negotiator with the MILF.
“Kasi sila po ang mga sanay na e. Doon po kukunin ang susunod na chairman ng peace panel,” Lacierda said.