SC urged to reconsider ruling on Congress representation to JBCBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines— Senator Francis Escudero and Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr have asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision clipping their representation to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
JBC, under the Constitution, is mandated to screen applicants for the Judiciary and Ombudsman position.
In its motion for reconsideration, Senator Francis Escudero and Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. told the high court that it “committed a reversible error in taking of cognizance of the present petition.”
The high court, in its ruling, said “to allow the Legislature to have more quantitative influence in the JBC by having more than one voice speak, whether with one full vote or one-half a vote each, would, as one former congressman and member of the JBC put it, ‘negate the principle of equality among the three branches of government which is enshrined in the Constitution.”
Escudero and Tupas both sit as ex-officio member of the JBC. But due to the high court’s ruling, Tupas will sit all throughout the JBC interview for Chief Justice candidates.
Tupas told reporters Tuesday that he will talk to Escudero and discuss about the manner of voting.
The legislative, in their motion for reconsideration, said while the Constitution says “a representative of Congress” to the JBC, it means both Houses of Congress as it pointed that without Senate, it cannot be Legislative, the same goes if there is only the Senate but without Congress.
“Indeed limiting the representative of the Congress in the JBC to either Senator Escudero or Congressman Tupas would be incongruous to the bicameral nature of Congress,” the motion stated.
The high court issued the ruling after former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez questioned the JBC composition saying Section 8 (1) of Article VIII of the Constitution states that “a member of Congress” should represent the JBC.
Concurring with Justice Mendoza were Justices Diosdado M. Peralta, Lucas P. Bersamin, Martin S. Villarama, Jr., Jose Portugal Perez, Bienvenido L. Reyes, and Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe.