Congress yet to pick representative to JBC-A A +A
Saturday, July 21, 2012
CONGRESS has yet to decide on its representative in the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) after Supreme Court (SC) ruled that there should only be one person from the legislative branch in the screening body.
"We have not discussed it yet. We will discuss it first with the leadership of both Houses. In the meantime, we are filing an MR (motion for reconsideration)," Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. said in a text message.
The SC has declared unconstitutional the current eight-member composition of the JBC. The new ruling of the high tribunal will have an effect on the ongoing search for the new Chief Justice.
Public interviews on 22 Chief Justice nominees start Tuesday, July 24.
Tupas and Senator Francis Escudero are both ex-officio members of the JBC in their capacity as chairpersons of the House committee on justice and Senate committee on justice and human rights, respectively.
The SC held the use of the singular letter "a" preceding "representative of Congress" in Section 8(1), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution leaves no room for any other interpretation.
"To allow the legislature to have more quantitative influence in the JBC by having more than one voice speak, whether with one full vote or one-half a vote each, would, as one former congressman and member of the JBC put it, 'negate the principle of equality among the three branches of government which is enshrined in the Constitution'," the SC said.
The decision came after former solicitor general Francisco Chavez, who rejected his nomination weeks ago, asked the SC not to allow Escudero and Tupas from further participating in the JBC proceedings because the eight-man composition is unconstitutional.
Escudero said that as a student of law, he is bound to respect the wisdom of the court.
Meantime, Malacañang refused Saturday to give its preference as to who will sit before the JBC between Escudero and Tupas.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, said it would be up to both Houses of Congress to decide.
"It will entirely be the decision of the House and the Senate, how they will discuss and decide on who will be the representative to the Judicial and Bar Council because it’s obviously a representative coming from the legislature," he said.
Lacierda said the leadership of both Congress or Escudero and Tupas themselves could discuss and decide on the matter. (Kathrina Alvarez/SDR/Sunnex)