Leonen, Lotilla, Diokno lead 7 SC nominees

Purple S. Romero

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The JBC finishes its selection process and releases a list of 7 nominees to the post of SC justice

Marvic Leonen. Photo from opapp.gov.ph
MANILA, Philippines – Seven nominees are on the short list that the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will submit to President Aquino III as he decides to appoint the next associate justice of the Supreme Court.

The 7 shortlisted nominees are chief government peace negotiator Marvic Leonen, De La Salle Law Dean Jose Manuel Diokno, former Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, CA justice Noel Tijam, Jose Reyes, Court of Appeals (CA) Rosmari Carandang, and CA presiding justice Andres Reyes.

The JBC said that the nominees who got the most number of votes — 7 — are Leonen, Lotilla, Andres Reyes, and Carandang. Jose Reyes and Tijam got 6 votes, while Diokno got 5 votes. The JBC has 8 members.

The council, which vets nominees to judicial posts for presidential approval, screened 15 contenders for the seat left vacant by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno when she was appointed to the highest post in the judiciary on August 24.

Leonen is considered the frontrunner in the race. He heads the government peace panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which signed a Framework Agreement with the government in October that sets the stage for the setting up of a Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.

Leonen and Lotilla were previously nominated for the post vacated by dismissed Chief Justice Renato Corona on May 29, but both declined the nomination. Lotilla then said that the tradition of appointing the most senior justice must be upheld.

Tijam, Diokno, and Andres Reyes have previously vied for the post. – Rappler.com

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