Aquino not satisfied with JBC shortlist-A A +A
Friday, August 17, 2012
MANILA (2nd Update, 3:58 p.m.) -- President Benigno Aquino III admitted Friday that he is not satisfied with the names submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) but vowed to select the next Chief Justice from the list.
In an interview in Malacañang, Aquino said he has no plans to return the eight-man shortlist to the JBC for revision.
"The Constitution doesn't give me that prerogative. The Constitution tells me that I have to choose from the list that they (JBC) submitted," he said.
He said the JBC had not been fair to nominees with pending disbarment cases. "Am I satisfied? Personally, hindi [No]," he said.
Section 5, Rule 4 of the JBC bars an aspirant with pending criminal and administrative cases from being considered in any judicial post.
Palace Undersecretary Michael Musngi, who was Justice Secretary Leila de Lima's temporary replacement in the eight-member council, tried to sway his colleagues to junk the rule but no consensus was reached.
This led to the disqualification of de Lima, who was said to be the top pick of Aquino for the Chief Justice post, because of three disbarment cases filed against her before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
The cases stemmed from de Lima's defiance of a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court permitting former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to travel abroad late last year, and for publicly bashing then Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The Chief Justice post has been left vacant following the removal of Corona in May for constitutional violations.
De Lima earlier accused the IBP, Supreme Court and the JBC of conspiracy to frustrate her bid to become Chief Justice. She said the SC sat on her cases for months.
"This means the President agrees with my position that I was singled out by an unfair process. That's why I got hurt," she said.
Jose Mejia, academe representative to the JBC, respected the President's opinion.
"There are people who were satisfied with the list and there are those who are not. It so happened that PNoy (Aquino) falls in the latter group and I think there is nothing wrong in expressing one's opinion," he said.
Aquino promised to announce the replacement of Corona before his August 27 deadline. (Jill Beltran/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)