MANILA, Philippines?No other option.
The Judicial and Bar Council could not withhold submitting a short list of nominees for the next Chief Justice if and when the ruling lifting the constitutional prohibition against midnight appointments in the Supreme Court becomes final, said Midas Marquez, the high court?s administrator and spokesperson.
?Of course the decision of the court is not yet final. If it becomes final, then the JBC has no option but to follow the order of the court,? he said.
The high court had particularly relied on the opinion of retired Associate Justice Florenz Regalado in ruling that the framers of the 1987 Constitution did not intend to include the judiciary in the ban against midnight appointments.
Marquez was asked why the Supreme Court found Regalado?s opinion more credible than that of Ateneo law dean emeritus Fr. Joaquin Bernas, who was also a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. (Bernas had said that the constitutional ban against presidential midnight appointments extended to the judiciary.)
Highest bar score
Said Marquez: ?Because perhaps the magistrates thought the opinion of Justice Regalado has more merit. Justice Regalado is a respected jurist. He holds the record for getting the highest score in the bar exams.?
Regalado obtained in 1954 a score of 96.7?the highest score so far in the history of bar examinations in the country.
On the other hand, Marquez said, Bernas ?only placed fifth or sixth? in the bar exam during his time.
Bernas in fact placed eighth in the 1962 bar exam.