JBC to choose from 15 names for next SC justice

Posted at 11/02/12 11:34 AM

MANILA, Philippines - All 15 candidates have been included in the long list for the next justice of the Supreme Court.

Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) member Jose Mejia said all 15 candidates have met the requirements required under the law. Members of the body will finally vote on November 7.

“We will vote on Nov. 7 for the shortlist of at least three names. President Noy has until Nov. 22 to make the appointment so he will have enough time for that,” Mejia said in a text message.

Nine of the 15 are already court insiders: Court of Appeals (CA) Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr.; Associate Justices Ramon Bato Jr., Rosmari Carandang, Magdangal De Leon, Isaias Dicdican, Jose Reyes Jr. and Noel Tijam; Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Ma. Cristina Cornejo; and former trial court judge Adoracion Cruz-Avisado.

The others are: former University of Perpetual Help System law dean Jose-Santos Bisquera, government peace panel chair and former University of the Philippines Law Dean Marvic Leonen, former Department of Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, De La Salle University Law Dean Jose Manuel Diokno, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Teresita Herbosa, and former Ateneo Law Dean Cesar Villanueva.

The appointee will fill in the post left by Ma. Lourdes Sereno, who became chief justice in August.

Mejia said all 15 candidates have even submitted their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) and waivers for the disclosure of bank accounts. The JBC did not see anything questionable in all those financial records, he added.

Nonetheless, there is no final decision yet on a controversial issue regarding the automatic disqualification of candidates with pending administrative or criminal cases. This rule was applied previously against Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who hoped to become chief justice.

“There’s no decision yet on that. I’m not sure also if it will be relevant to this position, if any of the aspirants has pending case,” Mejia said.