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CA justice named to body that screens judicial appointees

First Posted 22:18:00 09/06/2008

Filed Under: Politics, Judiciary (system of justice), Justice & Rights, Laws

MANILA, Philippines -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has nominated retired Court of Appeals Justice Aurora Santiago-Lagman as a member of the eight-member Judicial and Bar Council, the select constitutional body that screens appointees to the judiciary, Cebu Representative Eduardo Gullas said Saturday.

"We just received Justice Lagman's nomination papers," said Gullas, head of the House contingent to the bicameral Commission on Appointments, in a statement.

Gullas said Lagman would fill the JBC post rendered vacant when the four-year term of retired Sandiganbayan Justice Raoul Victorino, who represented the private sector in the JBC, expired. Once confirmed, Lagman would serve as JBC member until July 9, 2012.

According to the profiles of retired justices posted on the CA's official Internet site, Lagman started her career as a lawyer in the government in August 1978 at the Department of Justice's Citizens Legal Assistance Office.

Rising from the ranks, she was promoted to State Prosecutor II and later, Senior State Prosecutor. She was appointed as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan, Branch 77, on March 14, 1994, where she stayed until her promotion as Associate Justice of the CA on February 4, 2004.

Lagman obtained her law degree from the Lyceum of the Philippines and attended on official business special courses at the University of Southern California, National Judicial College, University of Nevada, and the Harvard Law School.

She is co-author of the book titled "The Child in the Criminal Justice System and Other Child-Related Laws," a joint project of FAIRCHILD and the University of the Philippines' Law Center.

Lagman was awarded as an Outstanding Alumna by the Lyceum of the Philippines, Most Outstanding Prosecutor by the Foundation for Judicial Excellence, Outstanding Regional Trial Court Judge of Bulacan by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Bulacan, Dangal ng KMB by the Kababaihang Manananggol ng Bulacan, Natatanging Obandeño sa Larangan ng Hudikatura, and Huwarang Pilipino for Law and Judiciary by the Radyo ng Bayan.

She hails from Obando, Bulacan, and is married to retired Sandiganbayan Justice Roberto Lagman.

The 1987 Constitution established the JBC to ensure a court system that is independent, effective, and efficient, and worthy of public trust. The JBC has the principal function of recommending appointees to the judiciary.

Under the Constitution, the JBC is composed of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) as ex-officio chairman; the Secretary of Justice and the heads of the Senate and House committees on justice as ex-officio members; plus four regular members -- a representative of the IBP, a professor of law, a retired member of the SC, and a representative of the private sector.

At present, besides its ex-officio members, the JBC is composed of Justice Regino Hermosisima Jr., representing retired SC justices; Dean Amado Dimayuga, representing law professors; and lawyer J. Conrado Castro, representing the IBP.

Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan and Quezon City Representative Matias Defensor Jr. sit in the JBC on account of their being heads of the Senate and House committees on justice, respectively.

Under the Constitution, the President shall appoint the four regular members of the JBC for a term of four years, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments.

The JBC recommends the members of the SC, CA, Sandiganbayan ,and the judges of the lower courts, and the Ombudsman and his deputies.

The President appoints all of them from a list of at least three nominees proposed by the JBC for every vacancy. Only those nominated by the JBC in a list officially transmitted to the President may be appointed by the latter as justices or judges or as Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman.

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