JBC starts interviews for next Duterte appointee to Supreme Court

MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will begin on Monday, June 19, public interviews of applicants eyeing a slot in the Supreme Court (SC).

The SC vacancy is for Justice Bienvenido Reyes who will retire on July 6. After Reyes, Justice Jose Mendoza will retire on August 13.

Up first on Monday will be Court Administrator and former face of the SC, Midas Marquez, followed by Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justices Apolinario Bruselas, Rosmari Carandang, Stephen Cruz, Ramon Bato, Andres Reyes, Jose Reyes and Ramon Paul Hernando.

Four other applicants will no longer be interviewed because their previous interviews are still valid. They are Pasay Judge Rowena Apao-Adlawan, CA Justices Japar Dimaampao, Amy Lazaro Javier, and law school dean Rita Linda Ventura-Jimeno.

The two Reyeses from the CA, Carandang, Dimaampao, Bruselas, Cruz, Javier, Ventura-Jimeno and Apao-Adlawan had already been nominated for the posts vacated by retired justices Jose Perez and Arturo Brion. Instead, President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Associate Justices Noel Tijam and Samuel Martires, both his schoolmates in San Beda.

The JBC, which is tasked to vet the applicants and submit a shortlist to Duterte, is composed of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Senator Richard Gordon, Repesentative Reynaldo Umali as Ex-Officio Chairperson (Sereno) and members.

The JBC regular members are retired SC Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, lawyer Jose Mejia for the academe, lawyer Milagros Fernan-Cayosa for the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and retired Judge Toribio Ilao for the private sector. 

Duterte appointed to the JBC retired Judge Ilao, who is the President's classmate in San Beda and according to Aguirre, one of Duterte's close friends in law school.

After Martires, Tijam and the replacements for Reyes and Mendoza, Duterte will get to appoint 8 more justices because of the retirements which will coincide with his term.

By the time his term ends in 2022, only 3 Supreme Court justices will not be his appointees: Sereno (retiring in 2030), Associate Justice Marvic Leonen (retiring in 2032), and Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa (retiring in 2030). – 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.

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