JBC releases shortlist for SC vacancy

MANILA-- The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Friday released a shortlist of candidates to replace Associate Justice Jose Mendoza who is set to retire next month.

Topping the list with seven votes each are Marawi-born magistrate Court of Appeals Associate Justice Jaapar Dimaampao and Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo

Dimaampao, who is law professor, bar reviewer and expert in taxation laws. He was also a former prosecutor and judge of the Mandaluyong RTC before his stint with the CA.

Gesmundo on the other hand is a former bar examiner and professor of law. He was a former Commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government and assistant Solicitor General.

Also included in the shortlist are CA Justice Jose Reyes with six votes, CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes, CA Justices Apolinario Bruselas and Ramon Hernando who got five votes each and while CA Justices Rosmari Carandang and Amy Lazaro Javier with four votes each.

The Mendoza vacancy is the fourth vacancy in the SC under the administration of President Duterte, who gets to appoint up to 12 justices in the high court during his term.

The JBC has already submitted to President Duterte a shortlist of seven nominees for the retirement of Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes yesterday (July 6).

It includes CA Presiding Justice Reyes, CA Justices Apolinario Bruselas Jr., Rosmari Carandang, Dimaampao and Amy Lazaro Javier, and Centro Escolar University law school vice dean Rita Linda Ventura-Jimeno.

Under the Constitution, the President has 90 days from vacancy to choose from the shortlist of candidates provided by the JBC.

The Constitution requires a candidate for the position of associate justice of the SC to be a natural born citizen, at least 40 years of age, and with 15 years or more of experience as a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the country.

The magistrate must also be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence.

The seven-man council, which is constitutionally mandated to screen and vet nominees to the President for vacant posts in the judiciary and the Offices of the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman, is chaired by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno, with ex-officio members -- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, along with representatives of the legislative branch: Senator Richard Gordon and Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali, who shall have a term sharing seat in the JBC.

Retired SC Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez is the head of the Executive Committee, lawyer Jose Mejia represents the academe, Milagros Fernan-Cayosa representing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the newest member retired Judge Toribio Ilao, representing the private sector as the other regular members of the JBC.

Duterte's first two appointees in the SC are Associate Justices Noel Tijam and Samuel Martires.

Duterte is expected to appoint at least 10 justices in the SC during his six-year term.

Source: Philippines News Agency