JBC still won't release psychiatric test of SC nominees-A A +A
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
MEMBERS of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Monday would not budge in its position not to release the results of the psychiatric and psychological evaluation taken by recent nominees for the position of chief justice.
Senator Francis Escudero, JBC member representing the Senate, said that given this position, it is now up to the Supreme Court whether or not to overturn the panel's decision to reject the request of Associate Justice Arturo Brion who is asking for a copy of the result of his exams.
Escudero said the issue is not about the test "it's about confidentiality," he said.
Escudero was referring to Section 2, Rule 7 of the JBC Rules, which provides that reports of the personal interviews are declared strictly confidential documents, which shall be available only to the members of the council.
"It's confidential, period. It's only for the eyes of the members of the JBC," he added.
He said the JBC will abide by how the SC will resolve the matter, considering that the panel is under the supervision of the Court. In the meantime, the Brion request was referred to the JBC's executive committee for further study.
The Court en banc is expected to tackle Brion's letter in Tuesday's session, and possibly make a ruling on the matter of whether applicants and candidates to judicial posts, who are screened by the JBC, are entitled to know the results of their psychological examination and psychiatric evaluation, vis-a-vis the confidentiality clause in the JBC rules.
Brion is among the 20 nominees who vied for the top judicial post. He was among the eight candidates shortlisted by the JBC for chief justice post, which eventually went to Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Upon her appointment by President Benigno Aquino III last August 24, news reports came out citing the JBC report which claimed that Sereno obtained a failing mark of "4" in the mental test, while Brion got a "3," which is just satisfactory.
Brion then requested the JBC, which Sereno chairs in an ex-officio capacity, to give him a copy of the JBC report, but this was denied by the council.
Aggrieved, he submitted a letter to the SC en banc to compel the JBC to release the copy of the test. Most senior justices agreed with Brion and suggested to bring the matter to a vote on the ground that the tests are imbued with public interest, but Sereno blocked such moves, saying she will first consult the JBC. (JCV/Sunnex)