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JBC cuts list of nominees for Supreme Court chief to 6

February 15, 2010

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – THE JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC) HAS CUT TO SIX NOMINEES THE INITIAL LIST OF CANDIDATES FOR CHIEF JUSTICE AFTER TWO ASPIRANTS WERE DISQUALIFIED FOR HAVING PENDING CASES.
In an advertisement published in The STAR last Saturday, the JBC released the names of the remaining candidates and invited the public to submit comments.
The nominees are Senior Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Renato Corona, Associate Justices Conchita Carpio-Morales, Arturo Brion and Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, and Sandiganbayan acting Presiding Justice Edilberto Sandoval.
SC administrator and spokesman Midas Marquez said the names of Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio and Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Victor Fernandez were not included in the list after they were disqualified due to pending cases.
With the publication of the list, the JBC will now start to accept comments, either supportive or critical, from the public.
Marquez assured the people that the nominees would be thoroughly screened to disregard fabricated and malicious allegations against any aspirant.
The debate over a proposal to allow President Arroyo to appoint the successor of Chief Justice Reynato Puno who will retire this coming May 17 heats up, even more after another constitutional luminary contested the position of fellow constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas on the issue.
Retired appellate court Justice Regalado Maambong, also one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, challenged the stand of Fr. Bernas and said Mrs. Arroyo can appoint the next chief justice despite the constitutional ban on appointments during the election period which covers Puno’s retirement date.
In his legal opinion submitted to the JBC, Maambong said the ban on midnight appointments by the President doesn’t include members of the judiciary.
“Contrary to the personal view of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., I opine that the appointment of members of the judiciary (needless to say especially those of the chief justice and justices of the Supreme Court), is not covered by the ban on midnight appointments,” he stressed.
“It is clear from the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission that the ban on ‘midnight appointments’ under Article Seven of the Constitution (Executive Department) refers only to positions in the executive department of government,” recalled Maambong, who is joining the senatorial race in May under the ticket of deposed President Joseph Estrada.