THE Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) announced that the deadline for the submission of nominations to the lone vacancy in the Supreme Court (SC) and the Sandiganbayan will be on July 5 so it could immediately start the conduct of public interview.

JBC secretariat lawyer Ma. Luisa Villarama told applicants or those recommending nominees to submit six copies each of their application, notarized personal data sheet with recent ID picture, transcript of school records and Certificate of Admission to the Bar (with Bar rating).

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The council also directed the nominees to attach to their application one copy each of their Income Tax Return for the past two years; 2010 clearances from the National Bureau of Investigation, Ombudsman, and Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

It required proofs of age and Filipino citizenship; 2010 police clearance from place of residence; results of medical examination and sworn medical certificate with impressions on such results; and Certificate of Good Standing or latest official receipt from the IBP National Treasurer.

The decision to open the nomination for the 15th slot at the SC and at the Sandiganbayan was reached following its first regular meeting last week presided by Chief Justice Renato Corona, who sits as concurrent chairman of the JBC.

The vacancy in the high court was created with the designation of Corona as Chief Justice last May 17, replacing retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

For the Sandiganbayan, the vacant slot was due to the untimely demise of Presiding Justice Norberto Y. Geraldez, last April 4 due to pancreatic cancer.

The JBC normally has eight members, including the Chief Justice. However, following the May 10 polls and the subsequent election of President Noynoy Aquino, the council will now have only six members sitting, after two of its ex-officio members – Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra and former Quezon City Representative Matias Defensor – ended their respective terms of office on June 30.

Also, Dean Amado Dimayuga, a regular member representing the academe, is retiring on July 9, leaving the JBC with only five members.

The remaining five members – Corona, ex-officio member Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero and regular members retired SC Justice Regino Hermosisima Jr., private sector representative Justice Aurora Santiago Lagman and IBP representative lawyer Conrado Castro – may still convene and decide with quorum.

Earlier, Corona vowed to speed up the nomination process for Aquino’s first SC appointee because the new president only has until August 17 to appoint.

Under the Constitution, the JBC should submit at least three nominees for a vacant position and the President has 90 days from the date of retirement or the occurrence of vacancy to fill up the position. (JCV/Sunnex)