Justice Mendoza, Duterte’s frat brother, off to JBC?

Lian Buan
Justice Mendoza, Duterte’s frat brother, off to JBC?
Retired SC Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez' term at the JBC expired in July and she stays on hold-over capacity until her replacement is named by the President

Retiring Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Jose Mendoza is moving over to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) after he retires on August 13, well-informed sources told Rappler. 

There is technically a vacancy at the JBC after the term of retired SC Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez expired last July. She is on hold-over capacity until her replacement is named.

Gutierrez is allowed to apply for a renewal, but sources said Mendoza has his eyes on her spot. Of the 4 spots at the JBC for regular members, one is allotted for retired SC justices like Sandoval-Gutierrez and Mendoza.

Two high-ranking sources in the judiciary confirmed Mendoza is in the running. According to the sources, it is now known in the SC-JBC circle that the retiring justice will get the spot. (READ: EXPLAINER: How the Judicial and Bar Council works)

Mendoza is President Rodrigo Duterte’s brother at San Beda College of Law’s Lex Taleonis Fraternity. Mendoza was appointed to the High Court in 2010 by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Asked by Rappler after the judiciary budget hearing at the House of Representatives on Monday, August 7, JBC Regular Member Maria Milagros Fernan-Cayosa said Mendoza had indeed expressed his interest in the post. Asked whether he will be appointed, Fernan-Cayosa said: “We will know when he retires.”


Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II told Rappler in early July he heard the same news “from friends”. Aguirre is a JBC ex-officio member and a friend of Mendoza. Aguirre, Mendoza, and Duterte are all fraternity brothers.

Duterte had earlier appointed to the JBC another fraternity brother, retired Judge Toribio Ilao, who the President is supposedly close to, said Aguirre. Ilao represents the private sector for the JBC. Other regular members are Fernan-Cayosa for the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and lawyer Jose Mejia representing the academe. (READ: GALLERY: Who are Duterte’s San Beda appointees to gov’t?)

Sandoval-Gutierrez served in the JBC for two years and was known for her hard-hitting questions to applicants.

The JBC screens applicants for vacancies in the judiciary. The President selects his appointees from the short list submitted by the JBC.

Duterte has yet to name Mendoza’s replacement in the SC. After that, he will get to appoint 8 more to the SC, or a total of 12 in his entire term. – Rappler.com

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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.