Voting on Chief Justice shortlist reset-A A +A
Friday, August 10, 2012
MANILA -- The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) failed to come up on Friday with a shortlist of nominees for Chief Justice after a Malacañang representative pushed to suspend the rules on disqualification of candidates with pending cases.
Emerging from a meeting at the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday, Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. said the council failed to reach a consensus whether to approve or reject the proposal of Undersecretary Michael Musngi, head of special concerns under the Office of the President.
Musngi is temporarily filling in the seat of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, one of the 20 nominees for the post and whose candidacy is in danger because of pending disbarment cases.
“So on what is the decision of the council on the motion to suspend the rules and whether this issue is involving integrity, there was no consensus. We moved for a break, there was a long break, in spite of that, no consensus was reached. We decided that it is time for us to reset this on Monday (August 13)," Tupas said in a chance interview.
Rule 4, Section 5 of the JBC disqualifies applicants to judicial posts if they have pending criminal or regular administrative cases, pending criminal cases in foreign courts or tribunals and have been convicted in a case where the penalty was over P10,000 unless granted judicial clemency.
Coincidentally, those who have pending cases are appointees of President Benigno Aquino III, namely: Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Chairman Andres Bautista, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairperson Teresita Herbosa, and de Lima.
Aquino earlier tasked his legal team to help de Lima with her disbarment case in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), which stemmed from her defiance of an SC resolution that allowed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to travel abroad last November.
De Lima is rumored to be the Palace’s choice for the post.
Tupas said it will be the last postponement after the deliberation was moved six times due to representation issue on the part of Congress and bad weather.
He also confirmed Friday that the SC junked the disbarment case against Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, one of the six magistrates who were nominated for the position.
Filed by anti-crime advocate Lauro Vizconde last Monday, the complaint against Carpio contains allegations of corruption and gross incompetence.
To recall, Vizconde accused Carpio of lobbying for the acquittal of Hubert Webb, principal suspect in the murder of his wife Estrellita and two daughters in June 1991.
The justices moved that a magistrate can only be removed by impeachment under the 1987 Constitution, thus a disbarment case can only be filed once he is convicted by the Senate, said acting SC spokesperson Gleoresty Guerra.
Twelve justices rendered the decision as Carpio took no part, while Associate Justices Maria Lourdes Sereno and Estela Perlas-Bernabe are on leave.
Sereno is also aspiring to succeed Renato Corona, who was removed by the Senate impeachment court last May 29 for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution after he misdeclared his peso and dollar deposits in the asset statement. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)