JBC conducting psychological exams constitutional, says Senator PangilinanBy Katherine Evangelista
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Wednesday defended the Judicial and Bar Council’s decision to conduct psychological tests, among other requirements, amid opposition of nominees for the post of Supreme Court Chief Justice that these are unconstitutional.
In a statement, Pangilinan, a former ex-officio member of the JBC, said the JBC’s decision to subject candidates and nominees under psychological exams and other requirements were constitutional.
“The mandate of the JBC is to ensure that those shortlisted are qualified and meet the requirements laid down by the Constitution,” Pangilinan says. “I disagree with those who say that these additional requirements are unconstitutional.”
He adds that public interviews that will be conducted by the JBC are also not included in the Constitution.
“Does this mean the interviews are also unconstitutional? How can the JBC fulfill its duty to ensure that only the qualified are nominated if it cannot even interview a nominee because the Constitution does not say that interviews are required?” Pangilinan asked.
“Clearly, this is not the intent of the framers of our Constitution,” he added.
Earlier, JBC ex-oficio member Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said that nominees and candidates for the next Chief Justice will undergo psychological exams as part of the selection process. Escudero said that the test was necessary to study the character of each applicant.
Of the 65 nominations and applications for the chief justice post received by the JBC, only 13 have signified their intention to undergo the selection process. Meanwhile, the JBC will close the nomination period on July 2 and they will begin the selection process. The JBC also approved for media coverage the interview process of the candidates.
Escudero also defended the JBC requirement that all aspiring Chief Justices undergo psychological examinations, saying that this has been a rule of the JBC for all aspiring Supreme Court Justices.
“Why are they raising this when this has been the rule of JBC for judges? And for ordinary judges that’s being imposed, all the more reason for the Chief Justice,” Escudero said in a telephone interview. The statement came after Lawyer Romulo Macalintal on Monday claimed that psychological exams for candidates were “unconstitutional.”
Meanwhile, Escudero said that as of Wednesday, only 13 out of the 63 nominees have accepted the nominations. He added that they will not release the names of those who declined the nomination and that those who confirmed will be processed as candidates.