MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Friday, March 31, submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte its shortlist for a spot at the bench of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.
The Sandiganbayan currrently has 5 vacant spots for justices, following the appointment of Associate Justice Samuel Martires to the Supreme Court, and the early retirement of Associate Justice Maria Cristina Cornejo
The shortlist includes 4 trial court judges and an assistant Ombudsman, all of whom got 4 votes each and had been shortlisted before but were bypassed by then president Benigno Aquino III. (READ: IBP questions Aquino appointment of 2 Sandiganbayan justices)
Duterte's first Sandiganbayan appointee was Associate Justice Bernelito R. Fernandez, formerly of the QC RTC. The President appointed Fernandez in October 2016.
This shortlist is for the vacancy left by Associate Justice Roland Jurado who retired recently.
Of the 21 justices of the Sandiganbayan, 11 are Aquino appointees, 6 of whom were appointed in one go on January 20, 2016. (READ: Can Aquino shield himself from future cases?)
Duterte will have 7 appointees, counting Justice Fernandez.
Apart from the 5 current vacancies, Duterte is set to appoint one more magistrate to the Sandiganbayan during his term which ends in 2022. Associate Justice Rodolfo Ponferrada is set to retire on September 13, 2017.
Justice Cornejo was set to retire on December 13, 2020 but the SC has approved the early retirement of the 66-year-old justice because of ailments and disability. – Rappler.com