By Jeffrey Damicog
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is set to meet and deliberate next week the list of candidates vying for the position of chief justice of the Supreme Court (SC).
This was revealed by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who is one of the ex-officio members of the JBC.
Guevarra said the JBC will conduct the deliberations during its meeting on August 3 once the nominations for the post are in by July 26.
The JBC has three ex officio members — Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio who is the ex office chairperson, Guevarra, and Sen. Richard Godon.
The JBC’s regular members are retired SC Associate Justice Jose Mendoza who sits as executive committee chairperson and represents the retired SC justices; lawyer Maria Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, representing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP); lawyer Jose Mejia who represents the academe; and lawyer Toribio Ilao Jr. for the private sector.
The JBC, which is tasked under the Constitution to screen applicants for positions in the judiciary, formally opened on June 25 its search for the post of chief justice following the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Applicants and nominees for the post are given until July 26 to file and complete their requirements.
Five senior justices of the SC are automatically nominated for the post.
Based on seniority, these five SC justices are Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, and Lucas Bersamin.
Justices Mariano del Castillo and Estela Perlas Bernabe would be added to the list if Justices Velasco and De Castro would no longer be considered as “automatically nominated” since they are retiring on August 7 and October 8, respectively.
On May 11, the SC en banc voted 8-6 to grant the quo warrant petition of Solicitor General Jose Calida to void the 2012 appointment of Sereno for failing to submit her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) which was one of the requirements set by the JBC.