No more public interview for senior magistrates applying for chief justice

Lian Buan
No more public interview for senior magistrates applying for chief justice
'The majority of the JBC members took the view that sitting members of the Supreme Court had already been publicly interviewed when they originally applied for their SC positions,' says Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra

MANILA, Philippines – There will be no more public interviews for senior Supreme Court (SC) justices vying to be chief justice, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed on Monday, October 22.

Guevarra said that the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), of which he is a member of, has decided via majority vote that the 5 most senior SC justices, as well as justices who have served the SC for at least 5 years, are exempt from the public interviews.

“The majority of the JBC members took the view that sitting members of the Supreme Court had already been publicly interviewed when they originally applied for their SC positions,” said Guevarra.

This means Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Estela Perlas Bernabe will not be interviewed publicly. Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin, who also confirmed their applications, have already been interviewed, which would have been considered valid for this round.

“All the rest will be publicly interviewed,” said Guevarra, referring to those with less than 5 years in the SC, as well as outsiders.

Request from SC en banc

The JBC was acting on a resolution by the SC en banc which requested that the public interviews of senior justices be dispensed with.

Guevarra said the en banc resolution was unanimous.

He added that a new interview “would not serve any substantially useful purpose” because information from past interviews were already relayed to the public.

JBC interviews would have given the public a view of a justice’s way of thinking. At times, SC applicants were made to answer for the decisions they handed down, especially the contested ones.

But the JBC’s decision, said Guevarra, is “without prejudice to closed-door interviews.”

“In any event, the CJ nominees will still be thoroughly interviewed by the JBC, though not in full glare of the public, and if any formal amendment to the JBC rules is necessary, the same will be so done,” he said. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.