The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is about finished interviewing nominees for Chief Justice (CJ) and will soon go on with the selection process as to whose names will be submitted to choose from by President Benigno Aquino (PNoy).
This, even as Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, as well as Senate committee on justice chairman Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero and his House counterpart Rep. Niel Tupas agreed to pull out of the JBC following a SC ruling allowing only one representation from Congress to JBC.
But, even without Congress participating, and no matter how flawed JBC may be in its composition, as seen by Enrile, it has a role to play as a constitutionally-created body that recommends appointees for vacancies that may arise in the composition of the Supreme Court and other lower courts.
The question now is: Is JBC going to recommend a Supreme Court (SC) insider or an outsider?
So that the JBC members will not be accused of being biased for one or the other, it is a given that the recommended persons to be selected by President Aquino will be coming from both parties.
The question becomes critical and significant, and will determine the performance of the SC, when the same is asked of PNoy. It is important that he makes the right choice for it is one of the crucial legacies he will be leaving behind once he steps down from the presidency.
Among the candidates interviewed, it has been observed that most of those who were comfortable answering questions from the panel – more eloquent, more assertive, more confident, and seemingly more competent to occupy the position of CJ are the SC insiders, namely, Justice Antonio Carpio, Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Justice Arturo Brion, Justice Roberto Abad and Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Not only is it advantageous to appoint a replacement for CJ from within, knowing already fully well the intricacies, the processes and even the politics inside, but they rightfully deserve to be the only group to be chosen from in as much as they earned their stay position through hard work and sacrifice, not to mention their intelligence and probity. In fact they are classified from the most junior to the most senior, with the latter given the preference.
Unfortunately, such is not the case today.
But, since they have reached that distinguished position of Associate Justice of the SC, would you robbed any of them now of the opportunity to fulfill their dream of heading that most coveted position in the judiciary, the CJ of the SC?
It is for this reason that, I hope, PNoy will be guided to appoint a SC insider for CJ.
It is only fair.
So, when should we be considering then SC outsiders for SC inside positions? The answer is – only when there is vacancy in the roster of Associate Justices.
It is only fair.
(Please read related article: Search for Corona’s replacement , dated June 23, 2012. – Quierosaber)