So you want to be top judge? ‘Tough’ test for choosing new SC chief baredBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — After the ouster of former chief justice Renato Corona, the selection process on who would replace him as head of the Supreme Court need no longer be grounded on tradition but through strict deliberation on the person’s competence, integrity, probity and independence as a judge.
Judicial Bar Council ex officio member and Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. on Sunday said that he saw few persons meeting their standards. He said that he was “willing to break the tradition” in which the most senior or second most senior justice would most likely be chosen to lead the high court.
“Now it’s not just tradition. There’s nothing wrong in breaking tradition… the way I see it very few would pass out standards,” Tupas said.
Corona’s recent removal from office by the Senate impeachment court had a lot to do with how they would take on the task of selecting who would replace him, said Tupas. Aside from being at least 40 years of age and equipped with deep experience as a judge in a lower court or 15 years’ worth of law practice, he said that the nominee’s track record should show that he is a “person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.”
The JBC will also be strict in nominees’ statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs), said Tupas, adding that they would still discuss whether a lifestyle check would be necessary in choosing the next chief justice.
Tupas said that the JBC members are set to meet 11 a.m. on Monday to discuss the process of selecting the new chief magistrate. They would decide who would preside over the JBC in place of the chief justice before opening the nomination process.
He said that they would also create a schedule for filing letters of intent, taking neuro-psychiatric examinations, interviews and voting for the nominees.
No one has been nominated to replace Corona as head of the high tribunal yet, according to Tupas and all information about possible nominees as of now were premature.
Asked whether, acting Chief Justice, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio could be nominated for the position, Tupas said that “by tradition, the five most senior justices are nominated. If he would be included on the short list that I can’t answer.”