JBC interviews: SC applicants' stance on current issues
MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) interviewed on Monday, June 19, 8 nominees out of the 12 applying to be the next Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice.
JBC regular members retired SC Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, lawyer Jose Mejia, representing the academe, and retired Judge Toribio Ilao, representing the private sector, conducted the interviews on Monday.
The interviews are part of the process to fill the post which will be left vacant by Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes, who will retire on July 6. After him, Justice Jose Mendoza will retire on August 13.
Interviews of 4 previous nominees, who have already faced the JBC for previous vacancies, are still valid for their application to this post.
The successful applicant will be President Rodrigo Duterte's 3rd appointee to the High Court, after San Beda schoolmates Associate Justices Noel Tijam and Samuel Martires. Duterte will get to appoint 8 more SC Justices within his term. (READ: Who's who: Candidates vying to replace SC justice Bienvenido Reyes)
They were asked on their stance on current issues, largely on recent SC cases including the martial law in Mindanao, the hero's burial for the late President Ferdinand Marcos and the granting of bail to plunder defendant former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. Other hot topics included same-sex marriage and abortion.
Court Administrator Midas Marquez (Ateneo Law)
- MARTIAL LAW IN MINDANAO: Congress need not convene on martial law, it only has to if it intends to revoke the proclamation.
- MARCOS BURIAL: "It is sound," Marquez said. Marquez also told Sandoval-Gutierrez that he believes Marcos was not dishonorably discharged and that the late strongman did not commit crimes, therefore the hero's burial was a "sound decision."
- ENRILE BAIL: "Considering all factors, it was a sound decision," Marquez said, saying he agrees with the SC's consideration of former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile's old age and him not being flight risk.
Court of Appeals Justice Apolinario Bruselas (UP Law)
- MARTIAL LAW IN MINDANAO: The SC can inquire into the factual basis of the proclamation.
- MARCOS BURIAL: It was an exercise of prerogative of the executive branch. "So long as there is no grave abuse of discretion, the court should better leave it to the more political organizations of government."
- ENRILE BAIL: It was an exception because bail has never been given on the basis of humanitarian consideration.
- ICC COMPLAINT VS DUTERTE: The International Criminal Court (ICC) cannot attain jurisdiction over President Rodrigo Duterte because the government appears willing and able to resolve the problem of extrajudicial killings. "The fact that there was a Senate investigation indicates that something is being done," Bruselas said.
Court of Appeals Justice Rosmari Carandang (UP Law)
- MARTIAL LAW IN MINDANAO: Congress should convene on martial law.
- MARCOS BURIAL: On a moral ground, the burial should not have been allowed but there is no law prohibiting the burial.
- ENRILE BAIL: The grant of the bail to Enrile is not among the grounds in the rules of court and the Constitution.
- ALVAREZ' STATEMENT TO ABOLISH CA: It was an expression of dissatisfaction in what the Court of Appeals (CA) did, but it's not very easy dissolve to our courts because that's against the Constitution.
Court of Appeals Justice Stephen Cruz (Ateneo Law)
- MARTIAL LAW IN MINDANAO: The facts should be limited to the time of declaration, and subsequent facts should validate the declaration.
- MARCOS BURIAL: It's how you look at it, is Libingan ng mga Bayani really just for heroes? Would the end justify the means? If it's really for heroes, then was Marcos a hero? For me, since it's not really strictly for heroes, with a dog buried there, Marcos' burial there is a possibility.
- ENRILE BAIL: It is discretionary to the court; facts are not stagnant, it's ongoing and if the facts support the granting of bail, then Enrile should be granted bail. I would have concurred with the decision because Enrile is a senior citizen.
- DETENTION OF ILOCOS NORTE OFFICIALS: CA did its duty of issuing a writ of habeas corpus for the detained officials. If we falter to the threat of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, we fail in our duty.
Court of Appeals Justice Ramon Bato (Silliman University Law)
- SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: There is no provision in the Constitution prohibiting same sex marriage.
- DIVORCE: Constitution says marriage is a basic institution, it is an invaluable institution protected by the State so unless that is removed in the Constitution, I don't think we can have divorce now.
Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr (Ateneo Law)
- ALVAREZ' STATEMENT TO ABOLISH CA: There's a provision in the Constitution that the Congress cannot pass a law reorganizing the judiciary if it undermines the security of tenure of members.
- MARTIAL LAW IN MINDANAO: There is factual basis for the declaration of martial law. The Consitution's wording does not state that there must be a joint session to ratify martial law, there is only a provision to convene if it will revoke martial law.
Court of Appeals Justice Jose Reyes Jr (San Beda Law)
- MARTIAL LAW IN MINDANAO: For now, we have to rely on what the President has done because he must have been in possession of sufficient factual basis that we do not possess. Being a lawyer, the President must have been aware his decision would be challenged, but if it is true that the Marawi situation is led by ISIS, then we must we worried.
Court of Appeals Justice Ramon Paul Hernando (San Beda Law)
- ENRILE BAIL: I have personal reservations because the basis of humanitarian considerations is a first and not specifically cited in the rules of criminal procedure, the SC may not have been accurate in its ruling.
- HUSBAND'S CONSENT ON WIFE'S ABORTION: The husband has as much right as the wife to decide on abortion. It doesn't violate the wife's privacy because pregnancy is the result of marital union.
The other 4 nominees will be vetted based on their previous interviews with the JBC.
Davao Judge Rowena M. Apao-Adlawan (Ateneo de Davao College of Law)
- EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS: EJKs are state-sponsored killings so legally there are no EJKs because Duterte is against killing.
- ILLEGAL DRUGS: I support Duterte's war on drugs but I will not trample on the rights of the accused. (Adlawan says she has a 70% acquittal rate of drug cases)
Court of Appeals Justice Japar Dimaampao (UE Law)
- SUSPENSION OF THE PRIVILEGE OF WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS: Duterte must adhere to his constitutional limits when he does so. (Note: A remark made in November 2016 before the declaration of martial law in Mindanao)
- DEATH PENALTY: Only for heinous crimes.
- SHARIA LAW: I will enrich jurisprudence on sharia law and will push for the organization of a sharia appellate court.
Court of Appeals Justice Amy C. Lazaro-Javier (UST Law)
- MARCOS BURIAL: SC should not have given Marcos a hero's burial because he was already convicted by the people through the EDSA revolution.
- EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS: It has not yet reached a point where it is widespread and systemic.
Dean Rita Linda S. Ventura-Jimeno (UP Law)
- MARCOS BURIAL: “My view has nothing to do with my being an Ilocana. It is my respect for the rule of law which tells me that the Supreme Court's decision should be respected.”
- FEDERALISM: “It's the only way where we can improve the lives of the people."