Body extends deadline to nominate chief justice

Posted on June 19, 2012

THE JUDICIAL and Bar Council (JBC) yesterday extended for two weeks the nominations process for chief justice and allowed live media coverage of public hearings on the aspirants, said an official of the Supreme Court (SC).

"The Judicial and Bar Council in its earlier meeting today (yesterday) has resolved to extend the period for accepting applications and nominations to the position of chief justice from June July 2," said SC acting spokesperson Maria Victoria Gleoresty Guerra in a media briefing.

"Consequently, it has moved its timeline to vote for the short list of nominees it will submit to the President from July 16 to July 30," she added.

Maria Milagros N. Fernan-Cayosa, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines representative to the JBC, said the extension was to allow other nominees to confirm their acceptance of the nominations.

"We have decided… to give opportunity for those who have been recommended to signify whether they want to be included in the list to be considered in the position and also for the JBC to look into the qualifications of those who have already been recommended or those who have applied," Ms. Cayosa told reporters in a chance interview after the council meeting.

In addition to extending the deadline, Ms. Guerra announced that the "JBC has also resolved to allow cameras and tape recorders in the room where the interviews of the candidates are held as well as live television and radio coverage of the proceedings."

In so doing, the court official added, the council resolved to delete the provisions in Section 5 of Rule no. JBC-10, which states that "interviews shall be conducted in public" but prohibits cameras, tape recordings and live media coverage of the proceedings.

Rule JBC-10 is called the "rule to further promote public awareness and accessibility to the proceedings of the Judicial and Bar Council."

As of 2:00 p.m .yesterday, there were already 38 nominees and two applicants to the chief justice post.

Automatically nominated are the five most senior justices of the Supreme Court (SC), namely, Antonio T. Carpio, Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo D. Brion, and Diosdado M. Peralta.

Of the five, only Mr. Brion has accepted his nomination as of yesterday.

Of the other nominees, the following have accepted their nominations:

• family lawyer Maria Carolina Katrina T. Legarda;

• Cesar A. Villanueva, chairman of the Government Commission Monitoring Appointments to the Government Owned and Controlled Corporations;

• University of the Philippines (UP) law Dean Raul C. Pangalangan;

• Rafael A. Morales, a managing partner at Sycip Salazar Hernandez and Gatmaitan Law Office;

• SC Associate Justice Roberto A. Abad; and

• elections commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento.

Those who have declined their nominations were former assistant provincial prosecutor Marianito S. Sasondoncillo of Laguna and Integrated Bar of the Philippines President Roan I. Libarios.

With pending confirmations are:

• Solicitor General Francis H. Jardeleza;

• retired judge Manuel Dj Siayngco, Jr.;

• Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares;

• Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima;

• former Ormoc City vice-mayor Nepomuceno P. Aparis;

• SC Associate Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno;

• former solicitor general Francisco I. Chavez;

• former UP law dean Mario Victor F. Leonen, who is current chief negotiator for the Mindanao peace talks;

• University of the East Dean Amado D. Valdez;

• SC Associate Justice Jose P. Perez;

• former Makati Rep. Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. (1st district);

• former Energy secretary Raphael Perpetuo M. Lotilla;

• SC Associate Justice Estela P. Bernabe;

• Teresita J. Herbosa, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission;

• Jose Renante R. Terre, Jr. Ormoc City assistant prosecutor;

• Alexander A. Padilla, Health undersecretary and chief negotiator for the peace talks with the communists;

• Antonio P. Villamor, former envoy to Saudi Arabia;

• Councilor Rey Oliver S. Alejandrino of Lucena City;

• former presidential candidate Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr.;

• Soledad M. Cagampang-de Castro;

• Pedro Aquino;

• Rodolfo D. Robles; and

• Vicente R. Velasquez.

The two applicants are nurse Jocelyn C. Esquivel and dismissed Malabon trial court judge Florentino V. Floro.

The top post in the high court was vacated after then chief justice Renato C. Corona was ousted by the Senate, sitting as Impeachment Court, on May 29 over charges of betrayal of public trust.

President Benigno S. C. Aquino III has 90 days to appoint a new chief justice based on the JBC short list. -- Aubrey E. Barrameda