CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga- The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has slated July 30 for its submission to Pres. Aquino the screened list of three nominees to the post of Supreme Court chief justice.
In an interview here during the regional convention of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Central Luzon (IBP-CL), Sen. Francis Escudero, chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights and JBC member, said the July 30 schedule would enable the President to have one month to decide on whom to pick from the JBC’s final list of three nominees.
Escudero said that as of last Monday, the number of nominees and applicants numbered 63. Only two of them applied for the chief justice position, but Escudero could not recall who they were.
The deadline for nominations and applications is on July 2.
Escudero, who earlier junked his nomination to the Supreme Court, cited a provision of the law mandating that the position be filled up within 90 days after it was left vacant. “This 90 day period will lapse on Aug. 27,” he noted.
“We (in the JBC) will sift through them (list of nominees and applicants), publish the names of those qualified for public opinion, recommendation or opposition then they will pass through the process of interviews and submission of requirements, including the waiver (of bank account deposits) that I want,” he said.
Escudero then explained that after these procedure, the JBC would deliberate on the three nominees to be recommended to the President.
“There will be no more than three nominees from whom the President will appoint the next chief justice,” he added.
This, even as Justice Sec. Leila de Lima said in an interview in the same convention here yesterday that she has remained “in a dilemma” on whether to accept her nomination to the chief justice post, although she thanked the IBP of Zambales for the nomination.
She said the President advised her to consider the “interest of the country” in her decision, but she noted that
“I can’t decide yet. It need to decide at the latest on Monday since that’s the deadline. I am hesitant, I am reluctant, I am really in a quandary,” she said.
De Lima expressed “doubts whether I will fit in that kind of institution.”
“It’s a collegial body. Of course I am a member of the cabinet which is also a collegial body but the concerns of the cabinet are different from the concerns and challenges of the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court,” she added.
For his part, Escudero said he declined the nomination “out of delicadeza” since he was part of the Senate court that ousted former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Meanwhile, IBP national president Roan Libarios said during an interview at the convention that the IBP, which is represented in the JBC, said his group is batting for a chief justice with “leadership capabilities.”
“He must also be someone with some level of acceptability among members of the judiciary. We will look into the interview performances (of the nominees and applicants) and hear them explain their proposals for judicial reforms,” Libarios also said.