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JBC releases shortlist of Supreme Court nominees

July 28, 2010 10:10am

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) released on Wednesday the shortlist of nominees for the lone vacant position in the Supreme Court.

The shortlist, which contains the names of six candidates, will be submitted to President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III by the JBC, either later in the day or on Thursday morning.

The JBC is the constitutionally mandated body tasked to screen and nominate candidates for vacant judicial posts. 

The JBC narrowed down the list to six names from among 28 candidates.

Court administrator Jose Midas Marquez said Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao topped the voting and garnered six votes.

Former University of the Philippines law dean Raul Pangalangan and CA Associate Justice Noel Tijam received five votes each.

Those who had four votes each were CA Associate Justices Hakim Abdulwahid, Commission on Elections Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, and Asian Institute of Management Policy Center executive director Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

The nominees

It's not the first time that Dimaampao vied to be appointed to the highest court in the land. An appellate court magistrate for the past six years, he had sought to occupy previous vacancies in the SC last year.

According to his profile posted on the CA website, Dimaampao is currently a law professor at the University of Sto. Tomas. He is also the son of former Comelec commissioner Magdara Dimaampao.

Pangalangan served as UP College of Law dean from 2000 to 2005. He taught Constitutional Law, Public International Law, and Jursiprudence. He earned his law degree from UP and the Harvard Law School.

Tijam, for his part, was appointed to the CA in November 2003. He graduated magna cum laude from the San Beda College in 1967. He earned his law degree from the same school in 1971 and graduated cum laude.

Abdulwahid was also named CA associate justice in 2003. He earned his law degree from the UP College of Law. Before his stint at the CA, he was a presiding judge of a Zamboanga City Regional Trial Court for 11 years. He also taught at the Western Mindanao State University.

Sarmiento is one of the two Comelec commissioners who dissented from the poll body's recent ruling that allowed former Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo to sit as party-list representative in the 15th Congress. He was appointed to the Comelec in 2006. He was also part of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution.

Sereno was also a former professor at the UP College of Law. The Asian Institute of Management Policy Center, which she currently heads, is the public policy think-tank of the institute.

JBC Members

"The members of the JBC considered the qualifications, credentials of the aspriants and the results of the public interviews," said Marquez.

Only seven JBC members were present during the voting because the term of former University of Santo Tomas law dean Amado Dimayuga ended this July. Dimayuga was the academe's representative to the council.

The incumbent JBC members are the following: Chief Justice Renato Corona as ex-officio chairman, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Senator Francis Escudero as ex-officio members. Iloilo fifth district Rep. Neil Tupas Jr. is the new ex-officio member and the representative of the House of Representatives.

The regular members are retired Supreme Court Justice Regino Hermosisima Jr. and Integrated Bar of the Philippines representative J. Conrado Castro, and retired Court of Appeals Justice Aurora Santiago-Lagman.

The 1987 Constitution mandates that a vacancy in the high court must be filled up within 90 days. Aquino then has until August 17 to name his first appointee to the high tribunal because Corona was named chief justice on May 17. –VVP, GMANews.TV
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