Duterte to get shortlist of anti-graft court nominees

Duterte to get shortlist of anti-graft court nominees
With the vacancy in the Sandiganbayan division that hears PCGG cases, the President will be making his first major appointment to the judiciary

MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is set to submit to President Rodrigo Duterte a shortlist of 4 names for the vacancy in the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan. 

The President has 90 days to choose the replacement of Associate Justice Teresita V. Diaz Baldos, who retired on July 22. She had served at the Sandiganbayan Second Division since she was appointed in 2003 by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The following are the final nominees chosen from 36 initial candidates:

  • Judge Mary Ann E. Corpuz Mañalac, Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 141 – 6 votes
  • Judge Bernelito R. Fernandez, Quezon City RTC Branch 97 – 6 votes
  • Judge Philip A. Aguinaldo, Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 207 – 5 votes 
  • Judge Benjamin T. Pozon, Makati City RTC Branch 139 – 4 votes

This is not the first time that Aguinaldo and Pozon have been shortlisted for the Sandiganbayan. In October 2015, they were nominated for the seat of 16th associate justice, which was newly created, but they were not picked by then president Benigno Aquino III.

In January this year, Aquino instead filled the post with names from the shortlist for the post of the 21st justice.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines asked the Supreme Court to nullify the appointments of two Sandiganbayan justices chosen by Aquino. In a petition filed last May, the IBP said Aquino violated Section 9, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution when he did not select any of the nominees on the shortlist submitted by the JBC for the post of 16th associate justice.

The vacancy is in the Sandiganbayan division that has been handling Presidential Commission on Good Government cases that seek to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies. 

Baldos’ replacement will be President Duterte’s first major appointment to the judiciary. – Rappler.com

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