Point system for aspiring justices, judges
MANILA, Philippines - The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is pushing for the adoption of a point system in shortlisting aspirants to the judiciary. This scoring system has always been there, however, according to a JBC member, but was never "institutionalized."
In a letter to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on October 24, the JBC, through council member retired Supreme Court Justice Regino Hermosisima, proposed that the body use the following criteria in selecting contenders for different judicial posts:
a. Scholastic record (considerations include honors in elementary, high school and college degress and postgradtuate studies) - 10 points
b. Bar rating - 10 points (with additional points for those who belong to the top 20)
c. Work experience (length of service as a magistrate, private practitioner) - 15 points
d. Work performance (case load, disposal rate, administrative ability, administrative cases filed against applicant, administrative sanctions imposed upon him or her) - 15 points
e. Integrity (opposition filed against applicants and grade in JBC survey system) - 20 points
f. Good health (physical health, which could be assessed through medical certificate, impressions of laboratory, ECG and X-ray results; and mental health, measured through psychological exam) - 20 points
g. Other related accomplishments (awards and legal writings) - 10 points
Hermosisima said that while good health only is only equivalent to 20 points, the JBC can "disqualify applicants otherwise well-qualified who are proven to be mentally or physically incapable of discharging judicial functions."
The results of the justices' psychological tests became a contentious issue during the inclusion - and eventual appointment - of then Associate Justice Sereno - for the post of chief justice. The Manila Times reported that Sereno and Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza got a grade of 4 in the tests. A grade of 5 means failure.
Hermosisima said that only applicants who got 70% should be shortlisted, but a JBC member may move to include a contender - who got a grade of less than 70% - if he/she has "exceptional qualifications."
Not obliged to follow it
Jose Mejia, another JBC member, said that the point matrix system has been there even before he joined the JBC in 2010, but that the council never adhered to it as a body. "The scoring system has been there, but we are not duty-bound to follow it. We are guided by it individually," he said. The JBC screens nominees for judiciary posts.
He said it was Hermosisima who proposed that the point system be adopted formally in time for the selection of a new Court of Appeals justice given the huge number of applicants - 44 - for the post. He said adopting the point system may help expedite the screening process.
Sereno, who as chief justice serves as the ex-oficio JBC chair, has to approve the point matrix system. Mejia said he doubts the system will be used by the time the JBC votes on its shortlist for the post of SC justice on Wednesday, November 7. The council is due to select the 15th member of the High Court.
The Supreme Court Appointments Watch (SCAW), a watchdog, has been lobbying for the development of a point system, saying that without it, the selection of contenders seems arbitrary. - Rappler.com