MANILA, Philippines?There might not be enough time for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to appoint a new associate justice of the Supreme Court, court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said.
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) still needs to screen and come up with a shortlist of nominees, which will be submitted to Malacañang for the President to choose the 15th member of the high tribunal, Marquez said.
"We have to announce the vacant position, accept application, conduct discreet investigation, interview. Time is too tight," he said.
The associate justice post will be available May 17 when Chief Justice Reynato Puno retires and Associate Justice Renato Corona assumes the chief magistrate position, he said.
Arroyo, who steps down as president on June 30, chose Corona Wednesday to replace Puno.
But Marquez said Corona could still convene the JBC once he assumed office.
The chief justice chairs the JBC, which is tasked by the Constitution to screen and recommend candidates for vacant positions in the judiciary and the Office the Ombudsman.