Number of candidates for CJ post swells to 40
The number of candidates and recommendees for the post left vacant by ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona has ballooned to 40 and still counting, as the Judicial and Bar Council has extended the deadline for application and recommendation to July 2.
A candidate who lost in the 2010 presidential elections, the incumbent Securities and Exchange Commission chief, and an incumbent Court of Appeals justice were among the eight recommended to be the next chief justice post, the JBC said on Monday.
Former Tarlac Representative and Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. was recommended for nomination by lawyer Jose Mallari. In 2010, Teodoro ran against, and lost to, his cousin President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III. In 2003, Teodoro also pushed for the impeachment of then-Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., but failed.
SEC Commissioner Teresita Herbosa was recommended by Adelita Vergel de Dios, while CA Justice Antonio Villamor was recommended by a certain Leonardo da Vinci.
Also on Monday, the JBC received recommendations for the nomination of former Executive Secretary and former San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, as well as lawyers Jose Renante Terre, Vicente Velasquez, Rey Oliver Alejandrino, and Alexander Padilla.
Up for ‘promotion,’ 9 sitting SC justices
SC Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Professor Soledad Cagampang-De Castro were recommended last Friday.
To be included in the JBC’s long list, a candidate has to apply, be recommended, or be automatically nominated to fill in the chief justice post.
Traditionally, only the five most senior SC justices get “automatic nomination” when the chief justice post becomes vacant.
The most senior SC justices now are acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, SC Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, and Diosdado Peralta. To be formally considered for the vacancy, they must formally accept the endorsements.
But aside from Perlas-Bernabe, three other “junior” SC justices were recommended to the chief justice post – namely, SC Associate Justices Roberto Abad, Jose Perez, and Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Recommendation not enough to become a nominee
Others who were earlier recommended for nomination by the JBC were:
1. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima
2. Internal Revenue chief Kim Henares
3. Former University of the Philippines Law dean Raul Pangalangan
4. Former Ateneo dean Cesar Villanueva
5. Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza
6. Women’s rights lawyer Katrina Legarda
7. Associate Justice Roberto Abad
8. Associate Justice Jose Perez
9. Associate Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno
10. Elections Commissioner Rene Sarmiento
11. Government Peace Panel chair Marvic Leonen
12. University of the East Law dean Amado Valdez
13. Former Solicitor General Francisco "Frank" Chavez
14. Former Makati Rep. Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin
15. Retired judge Manuel Siayngco Jr
16. UP lawyer Rafael Morales
17. Lawyer and Ormoc City Vice Mayor Nepomuceno Aparis
18. Lawyer Marianito Sasondoncillo
19. Former Energy Secretary Raphael 'Popo' Lotilla
20. President of the Integrated Bar of the Phiippines Roan Libarios,
21. Lawyer Pedro Aquino
22. Former Supreme Court nominee Rodolfo Robles
23. Former Court of Appeals Justice Hilarion Aquino
But recommendation alone does not make one a nominee. The recommendee must first accept in writing to vie for the chief justice post.
Of those who were recommended, Sasondoncillo and Libarios declined to be nominated. Although Lotilla also expressed his intention to decline, JBC has yet to receive his formal letter.
A candidate for nomination also must not be disqualified. Former CA justice Hilarion Aquino is already 80 years old – an entire decade past the mandatory retirement age of SC justices – thus he is disqualified to be nominated.
Those who applied for the chief justice post were teacher-nurse Jocelyn Esquivel and former judge Florentino Floro.
Esquivel is disqualified because he has not been in the practice of law for 15 years, a necessary qualification to sit in the high court as required by the Constitution. — RSJ, GMA News
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