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JBC to screen 38 aspirants for lone Sandigan vacancy

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is set to screen 38 aspirants for the lone vacancy in the Sandiganbayan left by Senior Justice Gregory Ong following his dismissal in September last year.

In an announcement published in The STAR on Tuesday, the JBC has set public interviews of nominees and applicants on Jan. 27, 28 and 29.

Among the aspirants for the post is Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, who is part of the prosecution team handling the plunder cases against three senators implicated in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam in the anti-graft court.

Justiniano gained prominence in representing US Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith in the 2005 Subic rape case.

Also nominated for the post is Benjamin Pozon of the Makati regional trial court (RTC), the judge that convicted Smith for the rape of “Nicole” in 2006.

On the first day of interviews, Jan. 27, only Zamboanga City Branch 12 Judge Gregorio Valencia dela Peña III will face the seven-member council tasked to vet nominees to judicial posts.

On the next day, the JBC will interview five more bets: Justiniano, Assistant Solicitor General Sarah Jane Fernandez, Caloocan RTC Judge Aurelio Rambayon Ralar Jr., Makati RTC Judge Andres Soriano and Mandaluyong RTC Judge Esteban Tacla Jr.

Four others will face the council on the last day, Jan. 29: Tarlac City RTC Judge Cesar Limbo Aganon, Mandaluyong RTC Judge Ofelia Lineses Calo, Antipolo RTC Judge Kevin Narce Batan Vivero, and Manila RTC Judge Armando Alvarez Yanga.

Apart from these 10 aspirants, there are 28 others vying for the post but will no longer face the JBC since they were already interviewed for other posts within the past year.

They are Arthur Abudiente, Jeoffre Acebido, Philip Aguinaldo, Selma Alaras, Rowena Apao-Adlawan, Divinagracia Bustos-Ongkeko, Maryann Corpus-Mañalac, Ma. Celestina Cruz-Mangrobang, Henry Damasing, Salic Dumarpa, Geraldine Faith Econg, Berndelito Fernandez, Victoria Fernandez-Bernardo, Maria Amifaith Fider-Reyes, Alice Gutierrez, Globert Justalero, Eleanor Kwong, Gernao Francisco Lagspi, Ronaldo Martin, Jonel Sebastian Mercado, Silvino Pampilo Jr., Pozon, Vernard Quijano, Rosanna Fe Romero-Maglaya, Ruben Reynaldo Roxas, Edgar Santos, Salvador Timbang Jr. and Merianthe Pacita Zuraek. Most of them are also judges.

The law requires a Sandiganbayan justice to be natural-born citizen, at least 40 years of age and to have at least 10 years experience as a judge or in law practice.

A magistrate of the anti-graft court that handles corruption cases of government officials is also required to have probity, integrity and independence just like members of the high court.

The Supreme Court ordered the dismissal of Ong from the judicial service over links with Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains of the pork barrel scam.

In its ruling, the SC found Ong guilty of gross misconduct, dishonesty and impropriety for violating the rules in meeting Napoles twice after acquitting her in a malversation through falsification of public documents case involving the sale in 1998 of 500 Kevlar helmets to the Philippine Marines.

 

ALICE GUTIERREZ ARTHUR ABUDIENTE ASSISTANT SOLICITOR GENERAL SARAH JANE FERNANDEZ BENJAMIN POZON OF THE MAKATI BERNDELITO FERNANDEZ CELESTINA CRUZ-MANGROBANG DANIEL SMITH JAN JUDGE RTC
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