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Comelec exec Kho, COA chair Aguinaldo vie for Supreme Court seat

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Comelec exec Kho, COA chair Aguinaldo vie for Supreme Court seat
This file photo shows the Supreme Court.
Philstar.com / Erwin Cagadas

MANILA, Philippines — Commission on Elections Commissioner Antonio Kho and Commission on Audit chairperson Michael Aguinaldo are vying for a seat at the Supreme Court.

Kho, Aguinaldo and Court of Appeals Associate Justice Maria Filomena Singh are among the applicants for the seat to be vacated by SC Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang who is retiring early in January.

They will face the Judicial and Bar Council, the panel which screens applicants to the Judiciary and Office of the Ombudsman, for a public interview on December 6.

Seven other applicants to the same spot still have valid interviews with the JBC.

Applicants

Earlier this year, Kho applied to become an SC justice but withdrew. The JBC did not disclose his reasons for backing out.

Kho is currently part of the Comelec Second Division that is handling the petition against presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.’s Certificate of Candidacy.

He has been a poll commissioner since July 2018, and was previously an undersecretary of the justice department, under then-Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.

Aguinaldo was appointed to his current post by the then-President Benigno Aquino III. He is set to retire in 2022.

The COA chair earned President Rodrigo Duterte’s ire following the release of the commission’s report on the Department of Health’s pandemic spending. 'Deficiencies' that state auditors flagged has prompted hearings at the House of Representatives and the Senate. 

Aguinaldo received a recommendation from retired Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin. The former top judge cited Aguinaldo’s "long and varied experience in the public and private sectors" that he said makes the latter fit to join the SC.

Others who are also applying for the said post but whose JBC interviews are still valid are:

  • Court of Appeals Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas Jr.
  • Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang
  • Court of Appeals Associate Justice Ramon Cruz
  • Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg
  • Court of Appeals Associate Justice Ronaldo Roberto Martin
  • Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tiokno
  • Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva

There are 12 Duterte appointees in the 15-member court. He may still appoint a new SC justice, to take over the seat to be vacated by Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe who will retire on May 14, 2022.

COMMISSION ON AUDIT COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL SUPREME COURT
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