‘SC jealous of Congress’ powers, ‘playing politics’’—Senator Pangilinan
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court has been accused by an administration senator of being “jealous” of the powers of Congress and “playing politics” when it upheld its earlier decision that Congress should only have one representative at the Judicial and Bar Council.
“I’m afraid the majority in the Supreme Court chose to play politics in interpreting the Constitutional provisions on the JBC,” Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said in a text message on Thursday.
“Jealous of its supervisory powers and prerogatives of Congress over the JBC, the Supreme Court clipped the powers of Congress and interpreted the Constitutional provisions based not on the intent of the Constitution for a bicameral Congress but based on ensuring that the court maintains its firm hold on the Council,” added Pangilinan, who used to be the Senate’s representative at the JBC.
At present, there are two members of the JBC who are from Congress—Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero from the Senate and Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. from the House of Representatives.
But the Supreme Court reiterated this week its own ruling last July 2012 that only one member of Congress should be at the JBC.
If Congress could no longer change the ruling of the high court, Senator Edgardo Angara then proposed that a congressman and a senator should do a rotation in representing the legislative body at the Council.
“I think they should rotate and who will make the judgment is left to the judgement of that sitting representative and the other House should accept it,” Angara said at a forum in the Senate when asked about how Congress’ representative would cast a vote.
The JBC is constitutionally mandated to screen aspirants for the Judiciary and the Office of the Ombudsman. It would then submit a short list of nominees to the President who then will make the appointment.
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