Ex-SC justice Tijam is new JBC member

Lian Buan
(UPDATED) Newly-retired Supreme Court justice Noel Tijam is the 3rd Bedan in the Judicial and Bar Council, which screens applicants to judiciary posts

NEW JBC MEMBER. Newly retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Noel G. Tijam takes his oath as the newest member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) before Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin on March 7, 2019. Photo courtesy of the SC Public Information Office

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Newly-retired Supreme Court justice Noel Tijam is the newest member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

This was confirmed to Rappler by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday, March 6.

Tiijam will be representing the academe in the JBC, which screens applicants to judiciary posts. He is now the third Bedan in the council, after retired judge Toribio Ilao, who represents the private sector, and retired justice Jose Mendoza, who represents retired justices.

Tijam will have to go through a confirmation process by the Commission on Appointments. Tijam will have a 4-year term and eligible for a one-time renewal if approved by the President.

The representative of the academe should be a “professor of law,” according to the Constitution. In the past, JBC members from the academe were either deans or faculty members of law schools. (READ: EXPLAINER: How the Judicial and Bar Council works

Tijam’s academic background, according to the Supreme Court website, includes lectures at the Philippine Judicial Academy or PHILJA, University of the Philippines Law Center, and the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Program.

“In July 2010, he joined the distinguished Corps of Professors of the College of Law at the De La Salle Lipa City,” read his profile on the Supreme Court website.

SC Public Information Chief Brian Keith Hosaka added that “as per our records, Justice Tijam taught Business Law, Philosophy, Political Science at the Philippine School of Business Administration from 1969 to 1976.”

Tijam replaced lawyer Jose Mejia, who raised some controversies when he was appointed academe representative in the JBC. Reports pointed out that Mejia was, at the time of his appointment, teaching business and economics at the De La Salle University but not at its law school. Mejia said he once taught at the Ateneo Law School.

Tijam has been a judge since 1994, and was a longtime justice of the Court of Appeals until he was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to the Supreme Court in 2017.

In the Supreme Court, Tijam made the most mark as the ponente of the unprecedented decision that ousted former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno through quo warranto.

JBC member Milagros Fernan Cayosa, who represents the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, is serving her second term, which expires July 2019.

This means that when Cayosa ends her term, all 4 regular members of the JBC will be Duterte appointees. (READ: By 2022, Supreme Court filled with Duterte appointees

The ex-officio members of the JBC who also get a vote are Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Senate justice committee chairman Richard Gordon, and House justice committee chairman Doy Leachon. – 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.