'Public should also pose questions to Chief Justice candidates'-A A +A
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
MANILA -- Now that the interviews of contenders for the post of Chief Justice will be covered live by the media, Senator Francis Pangilinan said the public should also be given a chance to submit guide questions the screening body can use in grilling candidates.
For one, Pangilinan would like to know how nominees who are closely identified with President Benigno Aquino III would respond to questions regarding doubts as to their independence.
So far, only Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares are among the Cabinet officials who have yet to accept or decline their respective nominations. They have until July 2 to do so.
The lawmaker likewise wanted to know the candidates’ response to challenges on how to improve the conviction rate (presently at 16 percent) in criminal cases and ensure impartiality of judges and justices.
“Whether they answer the questions convincingly or not then the public will be better aware of their fitness. The public has the right to know about this and other critical issues,” Pangilinan, an administration ally, said.
Pangilinan, who represented the Senate in the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) from 2001 to 2007, also asked the body to do its homework and ensure that the difficult questions that need to be asked must be posed so that the issues can be cleared in public.
“The JBC members, especially the regular members, must rise up to the occasion and ensure that the selection process must be tough on the nominees but fair,” he said.
The interviews will be held sometime in July, after which the JBC will vote on the candidates and submit at least three names to President Aquino, who will then choose the replacement to ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Corona was removed from office by the Senate impeachment court last May 29 for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution when he failed to report multi-million-peso cash deposits in his asset statement. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)