JBC won't accept applications for next SC justice yet-A A +A
Monday, September 3, 2012
THE Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has yet to set a date on when it should start entertaining applications or nominations for the vacant post in the Supreme Court as a result of Maria Lourdes Sereno's appointment as the 24th Chief Justice.
Still, the eight-member body decided to have the notice of vacancy printed in newspapers on Wednesday to signify the start of the selection process for the next Associate Justice, said JBC member Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr.
Deadline for the application and acceptance of nomination may be determined on the next JBC meeting on September 10 as Tupas will push anew for the repeal of a rule barring candidates with pending criminal or administrative cases to be included in the shortlist of nominees to be submitted to the President.
Rule 4, Section 5 was applied last month when the JBC excluded Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, a perceived Palace favorite, from the race to become the successor of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona. Sereno was eventually named by President Benigno Aquino III to the post on August 24.
"I will push for an amendment and we should decide on this before the actual interview and voting," Tupas told reporters.
Aquino has 90 days since the vacancy occurred, or until late November to pick a person who will complete the 15-man tribunal.
Monday's meeting marked the first time for Sereno to preside the JBC, which was under the helm of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta for three months since Corona's removal by the Senate impeachment court in May.
Tupas, a former student of Sereno at the University of the Philippines College of Law, described the Chief Justice as jolly and probing, while fellow member Senator Francis Escudero said they had a productive day trimming down the list of nominees for judges in the lower courts.
"She was my teacher at the UP College of Law and it's my first time to observe her work as Chief Justice. She's very particular with data. She wants hard facts," Tupas said.
In a related development, lawyer Jose Mejia admitted that there was a request from Associate Justice Arturo Brion for the JBC to publicly release the results of the psychological exam taken by Chief Justice nominees.
Brion is one of the eight nominees who made it to the shortlist but his request was junked because the document is strictly confidential, said Mejia, who represents the academe.
Even before Sereno was appointed, a newspaper reported that the lady justice flunked the test and should have been disqualified from the race.
"As we already stated before we even take a vote, we determine if there are those who suffered from any disqualification including failure to pass the psychological evaluation. It's safe to conclude that whoever is voted upon has no infirmities as far as psychological evaluation is concerned," JBC member Milagros Cayosa had said.
Retired Court of Appeals justice Aurora Lagman has already asked her colleagues in the JBC to investigate the newspaper report.
Mejia said the JBC secretariat will do the probe to determine if there is really a leakage. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)