Justice Peralta to head screening of Chief Justice applicants-A A +A
Thursday, July 5, 2012
ASSOCIATE Justice Diosdado Peralta will head the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) when it screens applicants for the Chief Justice post owing to a Supreme Court decision on Thursday that it should not be deprived of representation in the constitutional body.
In a seven-page decision, the court ruled the most senior justice of the 15-man tribunal who is not an applicant for the position of Chief Justice should participate in the deliberations for the selection of nominees.
Citing Section 12 of the Judiciary Act of 1948, the court also said in case of vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or of his inability to perform the duties and powers of his office, "they shall devolve upon the Associate Justice who is first in precedence, until such disability is removed, or another Chief Justice is appointed and duly qualified."
"This provision shall apply to every Associate Justice who succeeds to the office of the Chief Justice," the provision stated.
Although it would be preferable if the membership of the eight-man JBC is complete, the body can still operate to perform its mandated task of submitting the list of nominees to the President even if the constitutionally named ex-officio chair (Chief Justice) does not sit in it, the court said.
Peralta, 60, who was appointed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in January 2009, was a former presiding justice of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan. He is a known specialist in criminal law.
Following tradition, the five most senior magistrates are automatically nominated for the post.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr. Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion accepted their nominations while Peralta declined to be considered.
These magistrates along with Associate Justices Maria Lourdes Sereno and Roberto Abad will undergo interviews beginning July 24.
They will jostle for the position left by Renato Corona, who was removed by the Senate impeachment court for not declaring multi-million peso cash assets tantamount to betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.
President Benigno Aquino III has until August 27 to choose Corona's successor. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)