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JBC submits shortlist of Chief Justice candidates

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The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has submitted its shortlist for the Chief Justice post despite recent reports of its nominees facing impeachment charges.

JBC said in a statement on Friday, Aug. 24, that during its session, its members have already submitted the names of Associate Justices Teresita J. Leonardo-De-Castro, Diosdado M. Peralta, and Lucas P. Bersamin to President Rodrigo R. Duterte “for his consideration in filling the vacancy in the Office of the Chief Justice.”

Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justices Leonardo-De Castro and Peralta garnered six votes from the JBC members. Mr. Bersamin received five votes.

On the other hand, fellow Chief Justice nominee Andres S. Reyes Jr received only three votes, one vote less than the minimum of four votes needed to be part of the vacancy’s shortlist.

The only non-SC nominee, Davao Regional trial Judge Virginia Tejano-Ang, was disqualified. In a message to reporters on Friday, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said Ms Tejano-Ang was disqualified “because of an adverse finding and recommendation in her administrative case.”

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During the JBC interviews last August 16, Ms. Tejano-Ang was questioned over her pending cases that are still in the investigative level in which she failed to disclose in her applications.

On the other hand, the shortlisted candidates recently faced controversy over an impeachment complaint filed against them and other SC Associate Justices Francis H. Jardeleza, Noel G. Tijam, and Alexander G. Gesmundo by Magdalo Rep. Gary C. Alejano, Ifugao Rep. Teddy B. Baguilat, Jr., and Akbayan Rep. Tomasito S. Villarin.

The complaint stated that the Associate Justices mentioned should be impeached for ousting former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno via quo warranto and violating public trust.

“Mere filing of the impeachment complaint (is)not enough to disqualify. It is not yet and impeachment case until it is affirmatively acted upon by the appropriate house committee,” Mr. Guevarra, who is a member of JBC. — Gillian M. Cortez

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