Escudero ready to quit JBC membership-A A +A
Monday, July 23, 2012
MANILA (Updated 9:50 a.m.) -- Senator Francis Escudero is open to the idea of giving up his seat in the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) after the Supreme Court ruled last week that only one member of Congress should sit in the body.
The JBC is a constitutional body tasked to screen and submit a shortlist of nominees from which the President will make appointments to vacant judicial posts, including the position of Ombudsman.
Saying he has no plans of clinging to the post that allows him to screen nominees for the next Chief Justice, Escudero said insisting on the post may only affect the credibility of the JBC.
“Prudence is the better part of valor sometimes. I will also follow whatever decision the Senate, House and Congress as a whole will come out in regard to this matter,” Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, told radio dzBB.
While this admission did not automatically mean he would resign before the JBC grills candidates on Tuesday, the lawmaker said he will continue to do his duties alongside counterpart Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr.
Tupas earlier said he might appeal the decision soon even as the leaderships of the House of Representatives and the Senate have yet to tackle the option.
Escudero presented at least three choices as to how Congress can fulfill its role in the multi-sectoral council, namely: term sharing, alternately sitting in the body at any given point in time and half a vote each in decisions.
The Supreme Court had already junked the idea of employing half vote each to the representatives of Congress after it agreed with the arguments presented by former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez, a previous nominee for top magistrate.
According to the decision penned by Associate Justice Jose Mendoza, the JBC was designed to have seven members only, thus “any inclusion of another member, whether with one whole vote or half of it, goes against that mandate.”
“Section 8(1), Article VIII of the Constitution, providing Congress with an equal voice with other members of the JBC in recommending appointees to the Judiciary is explicit,” the decision read.
Escudero has been a member of the JBC since 2008.
The selection for the next Chief Justice came after Renato Corona was impeached by the Senate impeachment court last May due to culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust for failure to truthfully declare his peso and dollar accounts. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)