named to high courtPosted: 11:52 PM (Manila Time) | Oct. 18, 2002
...PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced Friday the appointment of Adolf Sevilla Azcuna as associate justice of the Supreme Court.
...Azcuna was chief legal counsel and press secretary of President Corazon Aquino.
in an interview Friday vowed to "bring the court closer to the poor", quoting a maxim that those who have less in life should have more in law.He
said the court should cut fees drastically or totally exempt the poor from paying docket fees.
"The court itself should be more aware of the needs of the poor," he
said."I'm sure the (justices) are aware of this already.But I'll consult them." Azcuna
will have seven years in the Supreme Court
before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. He
has never had any direct judicial experience.
"But I worked for the court as a lawyer helping a justice," said Azcuna
who was an aide of Jose P. Bengzon, the former Court of Appeals presiding justice and later Supreme Court
associate justice from 1963 to 1968.
Bantay Katarungan has accused Azcuna
of fronting for the Trans-middle East Philippines Equities Inc.
, an alleged dummy firm of Romualdez
, who is facing multiple graft cases.It says Azcuna, while serving as president and board chairperson of the company, made it possible for Romualdez to take control of the former Philippine Capital International Bank (PCI Bank). Azcuna
innocence, saying Romualdez
's acquisition of PCI Bank shares "was done very much behind my back."
The President signed Azcuna's appointment papers on Oct. 17, a day after the Judicial and Bar Council
(JBC) submitted to her
a shortlist of nominees to replace Justice Santiago Kapunan, who retired on Aug. 12.
A vacancy in the court must be filled within 90 days.
Ms Macapagal had publicly expressed her
preference for Azcuna
was filling up two previous vacancies in the high court but Azcuna
failed to make it to the JBC shortlist at the time.He
applied again after Kapunan retired.
The President has admitted that Mrs. Aquino had talked to her about Azcuna
when the two of them met during the death anniversary of the martyred opposition leader, Benigno Aquino Jr., last Aug. 21.
...Azcuna finished law, cum laude, at the Ateneo de Manila University where he has been a professor of law since 1990.He
placed fourth in the 1962 bar examinations. He was a partner in the Bengzon law offices before serving in the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution. He
put up his
own law firm in 1987 and became Mrs. Aquino's chief presidential legal counsel from October 1987 to June 1989. Azcuna also served as press secretary and spokesperson to Mrs. Aquino.
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