February 6, 2007 · Posted in: The Judiciary

The JBC under scrutiny

(UPDATED) WHENEVER there is a vacancy in the Supreme Court, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is thrust into the limelight.

After Associate Justice Reynato Puno was appointed Chief Justice, the JBC submitted a list of nominees for his vacant post last week.

Solicitor General Antonio Nachura topped the list of five candidates and has been appointed associate justice, according to Puno.

Another strong contender, government corporate counsel Agnes Devanadera, was excluded from the shortlist of nominees. According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Devanadera has been accused of plunder by Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson.

Appellate justices have expressed their disappointment over Nachura’s appointment. Last January 30, they wrote to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to request that the next associate justice be selected from within the judiciary in order to “uphold the career judicial system and to boost the morale of its members.”

Traditionally, nominees and appointees for the post of Associate Justice have come from the appellate court. Of the 32 Associate Justices who have been appointed since 1988, 16 have come from the Court of Appeals. Other Associate Justice appointees were previously Court administrators, deans of law schools, and practicing lawyers.

Some associate justices were even a labor secretary, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman, and presidential chief of staff before they were appointed.

When it comes to selecting a new Chief Justice, seniority has historically been key.

In a 1988 letter to then President Corazon Aquino, the JBC said that it was unanimously endorsing the “established tradition since the beginning…of appointing the most senior Associate Justice as Chief Justice. This tradition has helped to isolate the Supreme Court from the pressures of politics and other extraneous considerations as well as to avoid internal strife and jockeying for position.” The JBC also then recommended that the long-standing tradition should be followed for purposes of stability.

The tradition of seniority has been broken only five times, most recently with the appointment of Artemio Panganiban as Chief Justice. This bypassed Reynato Puno, who was then the most senior Associate Justice. Puno was appointed Chief Justice last year.

JBC NOMINEES FOR SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE AND EVENTUAL APPOINTEES
DATE
NOMINEES
APPOINTED
April 1988
Pedro Yap
Associate Justice
Pedro Yap
Marcelo Fernan
Associate Justice
Andres Narvasa
Associate Justice
June 1988
Marcelo Fernan
Associate Justice
Marcelo Fernan
Andres Narvasa
Associate Justice
Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera
Associate Justice
November 1991
Andres Narvasa
Associate Justice
Andres Narvasa
Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera
Associate Justice
Hugo Gutierrez Jr.
Associate Justice
November 1998
Hilario Davide Jr.
Associate Justice
Hilario Davide Jr.
Flerida Ruth Romero
Associate Justice
Josue Bellosillo
Associate Justice
Jose Melo
Associate Justice
Reynato Puno
Associate Justice
December 2005
Artemio Panganiban
Associate Justice
Artemio Panganiban
Reynato Puno
Associate Justice
Leonardo Quisumbing
Associate Justice
December 2006
Reynato Puno
Associate Justice
Reynato Puno
Leonardo Quisumbing
Associate Justice
Consuelo Ynares-Santiago
Associate Justice
Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez
Associate Justice
Antonio Carpio
Associate Justice
Miriam Defensor-Santiago
Senator

The JBC was created under the 1987 Constitution in order to receive and select nominees for all judicial posts, the Ombudsman, and deputy Ombudsman. Yet the JBC’s effectiveness in selecting Chief Justice nominees has been questioned, after five of the six candidates that it selected last year snubbed the public interviews.

Marlon Manuel, co-convenor of the Supreme Court Appointments Watch, says that the cancellation of the public interviews shows that the JBC failed to assert its own rules. Thus, Manuel believes, the JBC’s mandate should be reviewed.

Puno, for his part, has also called for a review of JBC rules. Unlike Manuel, Puno believes that the public interviews are useless, as no candidate for chief justice has been subjected to a public interview since the inception of the Supreme Court.

JBC member Senator Francis Pangilinan has acknowledged that “there is room for improvement” in the JBC’s selection process. Pangilinan moved to dismiss the three justices who snubbed the public interviews, but was outvoted.

“In order for (the) JBC to gain greater credibility, public confidence, there should be greater transparency,” says Pangilinan.

With Nachura’s appointment, the Supreme Court is now dominated by President Arroyo’s appointees. Nachura has supported the President on controversial issues, asking the Supreme Court to reverse its ruling on Executive Order No. 464 and reconsider its decision on Presidential Proclamation 1017, including the legality of EO 464. He is also in favor of amending the charter through a people’s initiative.

The JBC is chaired by the Chief Justice, and counts the justice secretary and a representative each from both Houses of Congress among its members. Four other members are appointed by the President with confirmation by the Commission on Appointments.

Given the composition of the JBC, Ateneo law school professor Fr. Joaquin Bernas rightly wonders in his column how effective the Council can be in “assuring the nation that the recommendees for appointment are the council’s independent choices and not those of the President.”

The table below shows the JBC’s nominees for Associate Justices of the Supreme Court from 1988 to 2006 and how the President selected:

JBC NOMINEES FOR SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE AND EVENTUAL APPOINTEES
DATE
NOMINEES
APPOINTED
January 1988
Carolina Griño
Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals
Carolina Griño
Raul Goco
Solicitor General
Leo Medialdea
Court Administrator, Supreme Court (with rank of Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals)
April 1988
Leo Medialdea
Court Administrator, Supreme Court
Leo Medialdea
Sedfrey Ordoñez
Secretary of Justice
Florenz Regalado
Dean, San Beda College of Law
July 1988
Rodolfo Nocon
Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals
Florenz Regalado
Florenz Regalado
Dean, San Beda College of Law
Camilo Quiason
practicing lawyer
December 1990
Hilario Davide Jr.
Chairman, The Presidential Fact Finding Commission
Hilario Davide Jr.
Raul Goco
Solicitor General
Vicente Mendoza
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Rodolfo Nocon
Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals
Flerida Ruth Romero
Special Assistant to President Corazon C. Aquino
October 1991
Josue Bellosillo
Court Administrator, Supreme Court
Flerida Ruth Romero
Lorna de la Fuente
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Vicente Mendoza
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Rodolfo Nocon
Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals
Flerida Ruth Romero
Special Assistant to President Corazon C. Aquino
November 1991
Josue Bellosillo
Court Administrator, Supreme Court
Rodolfo Nocon
Jose Campos Jr.
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Lorna de la Fuente
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Vicente Mendoza
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Rodolfo Nocon
Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals
Camilo Quiason
practicing lawyer
January 1992
Josue Bellosillo
Court Administrator, Supreme Court
Josue Bellosillo
Jose Campos Jr.
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Lorna de la Fuente
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Jose Melo
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Vicente Mendoza
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Camilo Quiason
practicing lawyer
July 1992
Jose Campos Jr.
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Jose Melo
Lorna de la Fuente
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Jose Melo
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Vicente Mendoza
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Camilo Quiason
practicing lawyer
August 1992
Serafin Camilon
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Jose Campos Jr.
Jose Campos Jr.
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Lorna de la Fuente
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Santiago Kapunan
Acting Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals
Vicente Mendoza
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
January 1993
Serafin Camilon
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Camilo Quiason
Ricardo Francisco
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Santiago Kapunan
Acting Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals
Antonio Martinez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Vicente Mendoza
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Mario Ongkeko
practicing lawyer
Reynato Puno
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Camilo Quiason
practicing lawyer
Teodoro Regala
practicing lawyer
Jose Vitug
Dean, Arellano Law Foundation
June 1993
Ricardo Francisco
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Reynato Puno
Jose Vitug
Francis Garchitorena
Presiding Justice, Sandiganbayan
Oscar Herrera
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Santiago Kapunan
Acting Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals
Antonio Martinez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Vicente Mendoza
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Mario Ongkeko
practicing lawyer
Reynato Puno
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Pedro Ramirez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Jose Vitug
Dean, Arellano Law Foundation
December 1993
Ricardo Francisco
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Santiago Kapunan
Regino Hermosisima Jr.
Justice, Sandiganbayan
Santiago Kapunan
Acting Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals
Vicente Mendoza
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Minerva Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
May 1994
Ricardo Francisco
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Vicente Mendoza
Regino Hermosisima Jr.
Justice, Sandiganbayan
Vicente Mendoza
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Pedro Ramirez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Minerva Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
December 1994
Nathanael de Pano Jr.
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Ricardo Francisco
Ricardo Francisco
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Regino Hermosisima Jr.
Justice, Sandiganbayan
Pedro Ramirez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Minerva Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
June 1995
Nathanael de Pano Jr.
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Regino Hermosisima Jr.
Regino Hermosisima Jr.
Justice, Sandiganbayan
Ponciano Mathay
Former Chairman, Energy Regulatory Commission
Minerva Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
September 1995
Nathanael de Pano Jr.
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Artemio Panganiban
Antonio Martinez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Ponciano Mathay
Former Chairman, Energy Regulatory Commission
Artemio Panganiban
practicing lawyer
Minerva Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
February 1996
Jose Balajadia
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Justo Torres
Antonio Martinez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Pedro Ramirez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Minerva Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Justo Torres
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
November 1997
Arturo Buena
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Antonio Martinez
Raul Goco
practicing lawyer
Antonio Martinez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Bernardo Pardo
Chairman, Commission on Elections
Minerva Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
January 1998
Arturo Buena
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Leonardo Quisumbing
Fidel Purisima
Cipriano del Rosario
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Jesus Elbinias
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Francis Garchitorena
Associate Justice, Sandiganbayan
Jorge Imperial
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Artemon Luna
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Fidel Purisima
Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals
Leonardo Quisumbing
Associate Justice, Secretary of Labor
Minerva Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
August 1998
Alfredo Benipayo
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Bernardo Pardo
Arturo Buena
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Bernardo Pardo
Chairman, Commission on Elections
Minerva Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
December 1998
Lilia Bautista
Ambassador to the United Nations, WTO and other International Organizations
Arturo Buena
Minerva Reyes
Alfredo Benipayo
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Arturo Buena
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Romeo dela Cruz
Solicitor General
Sabino de Leon Jr.
Judge, Manila Regional Trial Court
Fortunato Gupit
practicing lawyer
Minerva Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Consuelo Ynares-Santiago
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
March 1999
Lilia Bautista
Ambassador to the United Nations, WTO and other International Organizations
Consuelo Ynares-Santiago
Alfredo Benipayo
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Sabino de Leon Jr.
Judge, Manila Regional Trial Court
Cancio Garcia
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Francis Garchitorena
Associate Justice, Sandiganbayan
Merlin Magallona
Dean, College of Law, University of the Philippines
Fermin Martin Jr.
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Consuelo Ynares-Santiago
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
September 1999
Alfredo Benipayo
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Sabino de Leon Jr.
Sabino de Leon Jr.
Judge, Manila Regional Trial Court
Magdangal Elma
Chairman, Presidential Commission on Good Government
Ricardo Galvez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
November 2000
Alfredo Benipayo
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez
Magdangal Elma
Chairman, Presidential Commission on Good Government
Cancio Garcia
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Artemio Tuquero
Secretary of Justice
October 2001
Cancio Garcia
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Antonio Carpio
Antonio Carpio
Executive Director, ASEAN Business Law Program, University of the Philippines
Renato Corona
Presidential Chief of Staff
Rogelio Vinluan
practicing lawyer
Francis Garchitorena
Associate Justice, Sandiganbayan
April 2002
Renato Corona
Presidential Chief of Staff, Presidential Spokesperson, Acting Executive Secretary
Renato Corona
Maria Alicia Austria-Martinez
Loreto Ata
practicing lawyer
Ruben Balane
Professor, University of the Philippines
Cancio Garcia
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Maria Alicia Austria-Martinez
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Ruben Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Romeo Callejo Sr.
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Harriet Demetriou
Former Chairperson, Commission on Elections
Rogelio Vinluan
practicing lawyer
Raul Pangalangan
Dean, College of Law, University of the Philippines
Edilberto Sandoval
Justice, Sandiganbayan
August 2002
Romeo Callejo Sr.
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Romeo Callejo Sr.
Conchita Morales
Conchita Morales
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Cancio Garcia
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Delilah Magtolis
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Raul Pangalangan
Dean, College of Law, University of the Philippines
Loreto Ata
practicing lawyer
Ruben Balane
Professor, University of the Philippines
Ruben Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Gregory Ong
Justice, Sandiganbayan
October 2002
Cancio Garcia
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Adolfo Azcuna
Delilah Magtolis
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Presbitero Velasco Jr.
Court Administrator, Supreme Court
Adolfo Azcuna
Former Presidential Legal Counsel and Press Secretary
Ruben Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
June 2003
Dante Tinga
Dean, College of Law, Polytechnic University of the Philippines
Dante Tinga
Presbitero Velasco Jr.
Court Administrator, Supreme Court
Raul Pangalangan
Dean, College of Law, University of the Philippines
Gregory Ong
Justice, Sandiganbayan
Ruben Reyes
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
January 2004
Presbitero Velasco Jr.
Court Administrator, Supreme Court
Minita Chico Nazario
Alfredo Benipayo
Solicitor General
Cancio Garcia
Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals
Minita Chico Nazario
Presiding Justice, Sandiganbayan
Ruben Balane
Professor, University of the Philippines
September 2004
Cancio Garcia
Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals
Cancio Garcia
Presbitero Velasco Jr.
Court Administrator, Supreme Court
Alfredo Benipayo
Solicitor General
Portia Aliño Hormachuelos
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
February 2006
Presbitero Velasco Jr.
Court Administrator, Supreme Court
Presbitero Velasco Jr.
Roberto Barrios
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals
Antonio Nachura
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel
Teresita de Castro
Presiding Justice, Sandiganbayan
Alfredo Benipayo
Solicitor General

4 Responses to The JBC under scrutiny

Avatar

mac.bh

January 31st, 2007 at 8:12 pm

E bakit naman kasi ginawa pa yang JBC kung ang isinusulong din lang ng JBC ay sundin ang senority? Napakawalang kwenta namang idolohiya niyan? Mga matatalinong nagpakatanga ba yan? Which come first the chicken or the egg?

Legally the JBC was created by the constitution with a specific job with its own rules. Now it nominates as an exercise of its power, e bakit naman pinakikialaman pa ng iba yung desisyon? At sasabihin ngayon senority dapat? Kung ayaw din lang ninyo na sundin ang prosesso ng JBC aba e dapat ngayon pa lang buwagin na iyan ng matapos na yang mga patutsada sa tuwi nalang may proseso sa pag nominee? O baka naman nag huhumiyaw yang mga yan dahil ang nakikinabang e si Arroyo na kalaban nila? Pano kaya kung ang nakikinabang ay manok nila? Magsumigaw din kaya sila?

Mga ipokrito! Mga matatalinong nag papakatanga magsitigil na kayo!

Avatar

Leo

January 31st, 2007 at 9:41 pm

Kung hindi rin nga lang nasusunod ang mga alituntunin na ipinagkaloob nila sa JBC, e dapat lang na i- abolish na lang ito… Dagdag na pabigat lang ito na gastusin ng ating pamahalaan,,, natural suweldo at gastos ng JBC natural galing sa gobyerno. Alisin na lang para makatipid tayo… E baka naman ayaw nilang gumaan ang gastusin ng gobyerno kaya kahit walang pakinabang e nagsusumiksik sila sa pagkakaupo sa JBC.. Companero y companera .. buhay nga naman….

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monk_x

April 26th, 2007 at 9:46 am

Hello,

May I know how to reach Ms. Isa Lorenzo regarding this topic?

Avatar

Isa Lorenzo

April 27th, 2007 at 12:53 pm

hi monk_x,

Drop me a line at isa@pcij.org. :)

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