MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has nominated to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) his fraternity brother retired Supreme Court (SC) Justice Jose Mendoza, the SC said on Monday, October 9.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea transmitted Duterte’s nomination letter to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on October 4.
Mendoza will replace fellow retired Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez as a JBC member representing the sector of retired justices.
Before Mendoza, Duterte named to the JBC another Lex Talionis brother: retired judge Toribio Ilao, who represents the private sector.
Other regular members are Maria Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, for the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), and lawyer Jose Mejia, representing the academe.
Mendoza’s term in the JBC will expire on July 9, 2021. He will have to be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA). (READ: EXPLAINER: How the Judicial and Bar Council works)
The JBC is tasked to vet applicants to judicial bodies, including the Supreme Court. The President chooses his appointees from the shortlists submitted by the council.
Aside from the regular members, the JBC’s ex-officio members who also get to vote are: Sereno (chairperson), Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, House justice committee chairman Reynaldo Umali, and Senate justice committee chairman Richard Gordon.
Sources say Sandoval-Gutierrez applied to renew her term. She is known for her tough questions during the public JBC interviews.
These changes come as Chief Justice Sereno faces an impeachment complaint before the House of Representatives, and the High Court is handling controversial cases, such as the electoral protest of vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Until his term finishes in 2022, Duterte will have appointed 12 justices to the SC. Four of those 12 are now sitting on the bench: associate justices Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes, and Alexander Gesmundo. – Rappler.com