News Briefs: August 24, 2019
JBC extends deadline for CJ post application
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has extended to Sept. 2 the deadline of the application period for the position of chief justice. Edgar Aricheta, JBC ex-officio secretary, said the extension was made “considering that three of the five most senior justices of the Supreme Court declined to be considered for nomination for the said post.” Under JBC rules, the five most senior justices are automatically considered nominated whenever a vacancy in the position of chief justices arises. The original application period ended on Tuesday with only Justices Diosdado Peralta and Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the second and third most senior magistrates, accepting their automatic nomination. Justice Andres Reyes Jr. also applied for the post. Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin is set to retire on Oct. 18 at the age of 70. The most senior justice, Antonio Carpio, who is retiring on Oct. 26, declined to be nominated. Francis Jardeleza will retire on Sept. 26. The fourth and sixth most senior, Justices Marvic Leonen and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, declined to be nominated. —Jerome Aning
Duterte leaves fate of Sogie bill to Congress
Even if he is personally in favor of it, President Duterte will respect the wisdom of Congress if it will pass or junk the sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (Sogie) equality bill. “With respect to any bill, the discretion, the wisdom, will always lie on the lawmakers,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in an interview. He added: “Still, even if the President supports it, if the Congress disagrees. That’s how the so-called balance of power and checks and balances operate.” Senate President Vicente Sotto III has maintained that the bill has “no chance” to be passed in the Senate. —Julie M. Aurelio
LTO: COA never disallowed phone, tablets purchases
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) on Friday clarified that the Commission on Audit (COA) never disallowed the procurement of P3.9 million worth of phones and tablets, as well as prepaid load, which state auditors flagged as “expensive, excessive.” The LTO said the procurement of 41 cell phones and 22 tablets was initiated in 2015 and involved a three-year procurement period. “These were necessary in the performance of the LTO-National Capital Region (NCR)’s functions in order to keep abreast in today’s technology,” said NCR director Clarence Guinto. “We needed dependable, fast and efficient communications devices to instantaneously keep up with our stakeholders, especially in the NCR where the bulk of LTO clients are.” —Krixia Subingsubing
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