Rep. Tupas: JBC list final, admits he wanted De Lima included
While Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr. would have wanted Justice Secretary Leila De Lima included in the Judicial and Bar Council shortlist for the next Supreme Court Chief Justice, he said the eight-name list submitted to the president Monday was final.
"Disqualified si Sec. De Lima at the last minute eh. We decided to disqualify her dahil nga sa pending cases, at yung pending motion naman to suspend the rules, which is actually the only way na makapasok si Sec. De Lima, ay di nakakuha ng sapat na boto rin sa mga miyembro kaya di na rin pinagbotohan yun," he explained in an interview with GMA News TV's News to Go on Tuesday.
Tupas admitted that he would have wanted her on the list, but reiterated the shortlist—which includes Supreme Court justices Antonio Carpio, Roberto Abad, Arturo Brion, Teresita Leonardo De Castro and Maria Lourdes Sereno; Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, ex-Ateneo Law School Dean Cesar Villanueva and former congressman Ronaldo Zamora—is final.
"Final na yan, dahil under the Constitution, si Pangulong Aquino, pipili siya dun lang sa walo na nasa listahan na binigay na namin sa kaniya kahapon," Tupas said.
Tupas explained however that it has happened in the past that a president returned the shortlist to the JBC because he was not pleased with it. "Nangyari na yun (that the President returned the shortlist), pero sa panahong nangyari yun dati, nanindigan yung JBC dahil sa constitutional provision na yung nomination process, nasa kamay ng JBC," Tupas said.
He added that he trusts the President will adhere to the shortlist. "Tingin ko naman may wide attitude naman diyan si Pangulo sa walong pangalan na isinubmit ng JBC, dahil qualified naman yung walo," he said.
The search for the next top magistrate came following the impeachment and conviction of former CJ Renato Corona for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Philippine Constitution.
Tupas said he was also a little surprised that the final list contained eight names.
"Nasa isip namin mga five, usually five, six, marami na yun," he said.
But he also explained the voting process. "Binigyan kami ng eight votes each. Nagulat din kami na medyo marami yung nakakakuha. Siguro concentrated yung boto ng most of the JBC dun sa iilang mga kandidato na qualified," he said.
Tupas said the JBC panel had a difficult time finalizing the list, but that it was also the most transparent.
"Isa sa mga pinakamahirap pero pinaka-transparent. Kasama natin ang public. For the first time, covered ng media," he added. –KG, GMA News