MANILA -- The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) started on Monday morning its screening of the nominees for the vacant position in the Supreme Court (SC).

The JBC is an independent constitutional body created under the supervision of the Supreme Court with the principal function of recommending appointees to the Judiciary.

It screens applicants and submits its shortlist of nominees of at least three to four names to the Office of the President (OP) whenever a vacancy occurs in the country's courts.

In turn, the President has a period of 90 days within which to make an appointment to fill up such vacancy.

Once the shortlist of nominees is submitted to President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III, he will choose his first appointee to the highest court of the land.

The vacancy in the 15-member SC was brought about by the appointment on May 17, 2010 of then Associate Justice Renato Corona as the Philippines' 23rd Chief Magistrate.

As ex-officio chair of the JBC, Chief Justice Corona presides over the screening of the candidates for the position in the Judiciary.

The first aspirants to be interviewed Monday morning by the members of the JBC are Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Hakim Abdulwahid, Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) Presiding Justice Ernesto Acosta and CTA Associate Justice Lovell Bautista.

In the afternoon, it will be the turn of CA Associate Justices Perlas Bernabe and Mariflor Punzalan-Castillo to be interviewed by the JBC. (PNA)