Thursday , April 26, 2018

JBC asks SC to reverse ruling upholding Aquino's Sandigan appointees

THE Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to reconsider its decision denying its motion for intervention on the case filed against former President Benigno Aquino III's alleged questionable appointment to two Sandiganbayan Associate Justices in 2016.

The 15-page motion for reconsideration (MR) filed by the JBC on December 27 seeks to reverse the Court's November 29 decision dismissing the JBC's motion for intervention.

In the SC's decision last November 29, it affirmed Aquino's appointment to two Sandiganbayan Justices as it ruled that the clustering of nominees in the JBC is "unconstitutional." The same decision also stated the Court's dismissal of the JBC's motion, as according to the 15-man tribunal, it was untimely filed.

But the JBC in its MR argued that its earlier motion was "seasonably filed," contrary to the claims of the Court that it was filed more than six months late.

According to the JBC, they filed the motion on November 26, three days before the SC rendered its decision.

"Clearly, the motion for intervention was timely filed," the JBC said, adding that Section 2, Rule 18 of the Revised Rules of the Court provides that motion for intervention may be filed any time before the Court renders its judgment.

The JBC also reiterated their stand that they have a legal standing to intervene, as opposed by the SC. Evidencing their claim, according to them, is the dispositive portion of the Court's main decision that dwells mostly on the council.

The JBC stressed that the SC should reverse its ruling and grant its motion for the complete resolution of the case.

"It bears stressing that the Court itself recognized the inevitability of addressing the issue of validity of the clustering of nominees of the JBC for a complete resolution of the case," the JBC said.

Aside from the JBC s motion to reverse the ruling, it also prayed for the inhibition of the author of the decision, Associate Justice Teresita de Castro, in her capacity as former JBC consultant from 2014 to 2016.

The SC decision on November 29 affirmed the appointments of Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Geraldine Faith Econg to the Sandiganbayan.

The appointment faced opposition from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and some nominees, as according to them, Aquino violated the constitution, particularly Section 9, Article VIII when he disregarded to choose appointees to fill the position of 16th Sandiganbayan Associate Justices from the JBC's shortlist.

The JBC in October 2015 submitted to Aquino six separate shortlists for each of the six vacancies in the Sandiganbayan where he can choose. The President, however, disregarded one of the five shortlists and appointed two from another shortlist.

But the SC in its recent decision said the President can choose from any of the shortlist submitted by the JBC.

It further ruled that the clustering is unconstitutional, has no legal basis and in contravention to the President's appointing powers. (Sunnex)