Peralta presides over JBC; de Lima's replacement granted-A A +A
Monday, July 16, 2012
MANILA (Updated 4:26 p.m.) -- Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta finally took over the proceedings of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) despite an earlier position contrary to the resolution of the Supreme Court (SC) that has supervisory power over the constitutional body.
Peralta’s designation as temporary ex-officio chairman of the JBC will be formalized on Friday, said lawyer Milagros Cayosa, who represents the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in the eight-man council.
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.
Also on Monday, the JBC approved Malacañang’s request to have a representative to the JBC in replacement of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who inhibited after being nominated for the Chief Justice post.
“There was consensus among members that since we already have a representative from the Supreme Court, the Chief Executive should be represented as well,” said Senator Francis Escudero, one of the two members from Congress.
The other member, Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr., insisted that Peralta should not head the JBC for now because the Constitution rests the role to the Chief Justice.
He said the JBC can still do its job of submitting a shortlist to President Benigno Aquino III by July 30 even with six members.
In Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Executive branch asked for representation in the same manner the High Court insisted on its decision to have Peralta as the head of the JBC.
The SC ruled on July 3 that Peralta should head the selection process of the next Chief Justice since he is the most senior justice who never sought the position.
“As you know the secretary of justice is the only position occupied by the Executive branch. The others, while they are appointed by the President, they do not represent the Executive branch. Furthermore, the secretary of justice is the alter ego of the Executive branch,” Lacierda said.
Lacierda said the Palace is not yet considering anyone to replace de Lima, someone who is not holding a rank lower than an undersecretary.
The JBC has already started vetting nominees for the replacement of deposed Chief Justice Renato Corona.
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.
Public interviews for the 22 applicants will be conducted from July 24 to 27. (Jill Beltran/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)