SC decision on Congress vote absurd - Tupas

Posted at 07/20/12 7:56 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. on Friday called the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision allowing only one representative from both houses of Congress in the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) “absurd.”

“To me it is a really absurd decision. This is an oversight committed by the Constitutional Commission of 1986. This decision was ruled on one single article that states there should only be one representative from Congress, which is an oversight,“ Tupas told ANC’s “Top Story.”

Under Section 8, Article 8 of the Constitution, it states that the JBC is created “under the supervision of the SC composed of the Chief Justice as ex-officio Chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a representative of the Congress as ex officio Members, a representative of the Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a retired Member of the Supreme Court, and a representative of the private sector.”

Because of the SC ruling, Tupas and Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who are representatives of Congress in the JBC, may be entitled to only one-half vote.

Escudero said another possibility is for the Senate and the House of Representatives to select only one representative to the JBC.

However, Tupas said having one representative for the Senate and the House of Representatives is unlikely.

“I cannot see a senator representing the House of Representatives or a House of Representatives member representing the Senate. That is something we really have to discuss if ever this decision becomes final,” he said.

Tupas said a motion for reconsideration will be filed.

He also said he will consult House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Escudero on the matter.

“That matter cannot be resolved by just myself and Sen. Escudero but we have to consult the leadership of both Houses. It should be decided by the institution,” he said.

Seven SC justices voted to uphold former Solicitor General Frank Chavez's petition questioning the JBC's current composition; 2 justices dissented.