JBC submits 5 names to Palace to fill up vacant post in Sandigan
MANILA, Philippines–A government prosecutor assisting the government in the pork barrel scam case and a son of a former justice who acquitted the late Gen. Fabian Ver of murder charges in the assassination of former senator Benigno ”Ninoy” Aquino Jr., father of President Aquino III, are two of the shortlisted candidates vying for the position of Associate Justice in the Sandiganbayan.
Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, who is helping prosecute Senators Jose ”Jinggoy” Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Ramon ”Bong” Revilla Jr. for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam, got five of seven votes from the members of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
Prior to his stint as Justice Undersecretary, Justiniano acted as counsel for US soldier Lance Corporal Daniel Smith when the serviceman appealed his conviction in 2006 for the rape of a Filipino woman inside the Subic Bay Freeport.
Prior to that appeal, Justiniano also led the successful defense of Smith’s co-accused Lance Corporal Keith Silkwood.
The other candidate is Quezon City Judge Bernelito Fernandez, who got the vote of all seven JBC members. He is the son of former Sandiganbayan presiding justice Bernardo Fernandez who also served as Tanodbayan (now Ombdusman) during the Marcos regime.
The younger Fernandez got six nods from JBC members. The JBC has submitted to President Benigno Aquino III the shortlist to fill up the antigraft court’s post vacated by Associate Justice Gregory Ong.
Another candidate who got the nod of the JBC members is Muntilupa Regional Trial Court Branch 207 Judge Philip Aguinaldo, a former Senior State Prosecutor of the Department of Justice.
Aguinaldo recently issued a writ of preliminary injunction against the color-coding scheme in Ayala Alabang.
Another candidate is Mary Ann Corpus-Mañalac of the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 141 who is a 2013 Judicial Excellence awardee.
She was a former Ombudsman prober who recommended the filing of graft charges against former Vice President Salvador “Doy” Laurel in connection with the multi-billion Centennial Expo scam.
On the other hand, Assistant Solicitor-General Sarah Jane Fernandez, sister of Dagupan Mayor Belen Fernandez, is part of the government’s team that successfully defended the Reformed Value-Added Tax cases before the Supreme Court.