JBC starts identifying chief justice short list

Posted on August 06, 2012

DELIBERATIONS ON the short list of chief justice aspirants at the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) begins today, barely three weeks before the deadline of President Benigno S. C. Aquino III to appoint the new head of the Supreme Court (SC).

The council will be drafting a short list from the 20 candidates that were interviewed after the SC on Friday allowed the body to proceed with its original composition of eight members.

The aspirants are:

• six incumbent SC justices (Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio, Arturo D. Brion, Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro, Ma. Lourdes P. A. Sereno and Roberto A. Abad);

• seven incumbent public officials (Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima; Cesar A. Villanueva, chairman of the Government Commission Monitoring Appointments to the Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations; Raul C. Pangalangan, University of the Philippines law dean; Teresita J. Herbosa, Securities and Exchange Commission chairman; Solicitor General Francis H. Jardeleza; poll commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento; and Andres D. Bautista, Presidential Commission on Good Government chairman);

• three former officials (retired judge Manuel Dj Siayngco, Jr.; former San Juan congressman and executive secretary Ronaldo B. Zamora; and former government corporate counsel Amado D. Valdez); and

• four lawyers from the private sector (Rafael A. Morales, managing partner at Sycip Salazar Hernandez and Gatmaitan Law Office; family lawyer Maria Carolina Katrina T. Legarda; human rights lawyer Jose Manuel I. Diokno; and law professor Soledad M. Cagampang-de Castro).


Jose V. Mejia, academe representative to the JBC, however, said on Friday it is not sure whether the council will vote today on the short list.

Mr. Aquino has to appoint a new chief magistrate by Aug. 27, or 90 days after the post was vacated by Renato C. Corona who was ousted by the Senate, sitting as Impeachment Court, on May 29 for betraying public trust in failing to fully disclose his assets in the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.

On Friday, the high court allowed the council’s two congressional representatives -- Senator Francis Joseph G. Escudero and Iloilo Rep. Niel C. Tupas, Jr. (5th district) -- to participate in the council deliberations pending the court’s final decision in the case filed by former solicitor general Francisco I. Chavez.

Mr. Chavez had questioned the constitutionality of the current composition of the council, citing the constitutional provision which stated that only one representative from Congress should sit in the JBC.

The high court, however, ruled that it is "in the best interest of justice that all its present members, including those who in the meantime have inhibited themselves, be given the opportunity to take part in the final deliberations and resolution of the petition." -- Aubrey E. Barrameda