President Duterte will pick one of the said candidates to take the seat of Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. who is set to retire in August.
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JBC draws up shortlist for Duterte's 5th SC justice appointee
Kristine Joy Patag ( - June 25, 2018 - 1:04pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Judicial and Bar Council on Monday released a shortlist of nominees for Supreme Court justice, who will be President Rodrigo Duterte’s fifth appointee to the high court.

In a tweet by The STAR, six justices of the Court of Appeals, an SC court official and a former law dean made it on the shortlist. They are:

SC Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez

Marquez recently hit headlines for serving as a resource speaker in the House of Representatives’ impeachment proceeding against ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. The court administrator faced the JBC panel last year.

Asked about the martial law declaration in Mindanao, he said: “The Constitution is very clear, Section 18, Article 7, I think. It’s very clear that the president can declare martial law, that the Supreme Court can look into reasons for declarations.”

Court of Appeals Associate Justice Jose Reyes Jr.

Reyes faced the JBC on November 2017. He was asked on his stand on Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao.

Reyes said that he believes that Duterte “must have been in possession of sufficient factual basis because facts that ordinary individuals like us may not be in possession.”

Court of Appeals Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang

Carandang has been serving the CA for 15 years. She said during her public interview that she thinks the SC ruling that allowed the bail of former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who was detained for his involvement in the multi-billion pork barrel scam, due to humanitarian reason is erroneous.

“I am not for that because the grant of bail to Enrile is not among the grounds under the rules of court and under the Constitution. Maybe the good reason is his old age and flight risk,” she said.

Court of Appeals Associate Justice Ramon Garcia

Garcia, in his public interview, was asked to weigh in one of the recent rulings of the SC. He cited the SC ruling that said that there was no illegal retrenchment of more than 1,000 members of the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines made by Philippine Airlines.

The CA justice said he does not agree with the ruling, as he was “taught in law school that there should be an end to every litigation.” Critics said that the SC “flip-flopped” on the case.

Court of Appeals Associate Justice Amy Javier

Facing the JBC panel on June 14, Javier was asked on a landmark case tacked by the US Supreme Court that sided with a baker who, due to his religious convictions, refused to bake a cake for a gay couple. Asked what she would do if the case was raffled to her sala, Javier stressed that “violations of the bill of rights must be committed by the state itself.”

She stressed that the case “does not involve state intrusion.”

Court of Appeals Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas

Bruselas has served as an appellate court justice for more than a decade. He was asked by the JBC last year on his stand on the government’s actions on extra-judicial killings.

He said that the Senate investigation into drug-related killings and the impeachment complaint against Duterte—which was dismissed outrightly by the House—are “indication that something is being done.”

Court of Appeals Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando 

On the SC’s grant of bail to Enrile, Hernando said he believes that while the high court “might not have erred,” the tribunal “may not have been completely accurate.” He said that he has personal reservations, adding that “humanitarian” considerations were not specified in the rules of court.

Former Ateneo Law Dean Cesar Villanueva

Villanueva is the lone candidate from the private practice to make it on the shortlist. He was asked to weigh in whether the president could decide to withdraw from the International Criminal Court unilaterally. He said: “According to the text, the ability to withdraw is the ability of the president. But, according to the Senate, since it is a form of treaty, it should receive the concurrence of the Senate.”

Duterte to appoint chief justice, ombudsman next

Duterte will pick one of the said candidates to take the seat of SC Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. who is set to retire in August.

The president is also expected to appoint the next chief justice and ombudsman in the coming months.

The SC on May 11 voted to nullify Sereno's appointment as chief justice. On June 19, the high court upheld its decision. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, meanwhile, will step down on July 26, as her seven-year term as the country's chief graft-buster expires. 

RELATED: How ombudsman applicants stand on issues

with Edu Punay

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