JBC resets release of CJ nominees shortlistBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has rescheduled its deliberation for the sixth time after it failed to reach a consensus on whether it should allow the proposal of the representative of the Executive Department to suspend the rules disqualifying a candidate to the Chief Justice post with a pending case.
“There was a motion from the executive to suspend the rules,” Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. said Friday.
Tupas was referring to Rule 4 Section 5 of the JBC-009 Rules, which provides that those disqualified from being nominated or appointed to any judicial, Ombudsman or deputy ombudsman position include:
- Those with pending criminal or regular administrative cases;
- Those with pending criminal cases in foreign courts or tribunals;
- Those who have been convicted in any criminal case or in an administrative case where the penalty imposed is at least a fine of more than P10,000 unless he has been grated judicial clemency.
The JBC representative from the Executive Department is Undersecretary Michael Frederick Musngi from the Office of the Executive Secretary.
“What is the decision of the council? Here, there was no consensus [because] there were certain objections,” Tupas said.
Also, Tupas said there was also an issue raised on whether the matter affecting the disqualified candidates involved a question of integrity.
Tupas said when the integrity of an applicant is raised, under the JBC rules, the vote should be unanimous.
“We moved for a break, there was a long break in spite of that, no consensus was reached. We decided that it is time for us to reset this on Monday,” Tupas said adding that it will be the last time they will reset the deliberation and voting because the President only has up to the end of August to appoint the new Chief Justice.
The candidates with pending cases are Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Teresita Herbosa.
The JBC was supposed to deliberate and come up with a short list last July 30 but was rescheduled to August 2. It was rescheduled again following Congress’ decision not to participate in the deliberation due to a pending appeal on the high court’s ruling that that there should only one representative from Congress.
After the high court temporarily allowed both Houses of Congress to participate in the deliberation, the JBC set its deliberation and voting last Monday. However, Senator Francis Escudero asked for more time to review the records of the 20 aspirants to the Chief Justice post and rescheduled the deliberation last Wednesday. Due to bad weather, it was moved to Thursday and later to Friday.
The next JBC meeting is on Monday.