President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Menardo Guevarra, then senior deputy executive secretary, to replace DOJ chief Vitaliano Aguirre II in April 2018.
The STAR/Krizjohn Rosales
Guevarra won't apply for SC justice post yet, says still 'in love' with DOJ work
Kristine Joy Patag ( - November 25, 2019 - 11:57am

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra declined his nomination to become one of the justices of the Supreme Court.

Guevarra on Monday again thanked retired Sandiganbayan Justice Raoul Victorino for nominating him to take the associate justice seat vacated by now Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, but said: “I’m still in love with DOJ.”

The justice secretary admitted that he considered applying to the high court in 2016, but “circumstances have [thrown] me in Padre Faura, but not that part of Padre Faura, not near Taft Avenue but Padre Faura near Robinsons,” referring to the Justice department.

“And I found out it was good, it was exciting,” said Guevarra.

Guevarra delivered a speech before the Prosecutors League of the Philippines, National Capital Region.

In an ambush interview after the event, Guevarra noted that he still has "many things" to do in the DOJ like filling up positions in the National Prosecution Service, attend to Petition for Review backlogs, "put some order in our correctional system," and continuing modernization of the National Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Immigration.

RELATED: Guevarra to new BuCor chief: Clean up GCTA mess

He said that while he does not expect to complete these in his stint at the DOJ, he hopes that he would "be able to make a dent and do something to set the progress in motion."

Not closing doors to the Judiciary

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Guevarra, then senior deputy executive secretary, to replace DOJ chief Vitaliano Aguirre II, who was embroiled in controversy due to the dismissal of drug raps against Peter Lim, in April 2018.

Victorino, in his letter of recommendation submitted to the Judicial and Bar Council, cited Guevarra’s years of work at the Office of the President, as arbitrator of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and as member of the Philippine legal team that won the landmark arbitral ruling for the country at the Hague.

“I believe that he possesses the necessary credentials, professional experience and the motivation to discharge his duties as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court,” Victorino added.

Upon learning of Victorino’s recommendation, Guevarra said he would think about it “very, very seriously,” noting that becoming an SC justice is an “appealing post.”

Guevarra, however, said that he is "certainly not" closing the doors on a possible application to the SC.

"I very much want to join the Judiciary in some future time, but I just want to make sure that I'm able to do something more for the DOJ before I can even think of transferring to the Judiciary," he added.

The JBC is accepting applications and acceptance of nominations to become the next SC magistrate until 4:30 p.m. on November 25. — with reports from The STAR/Evelyn Macairan

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