By Jeffrey Damicog and Rey Panaligan
Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez and nine others have made it to the shortlist for the Supreme Court (SC) seat which will be vacated by Associate Justice Noel Tijam.
This was confirmed by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, an Ex Officio member of the JBC.
Guevarra said the JBC made the shortlist during its deliberations of the 19 candidates for the post on Friday.
Apart from Marquez who received four votes from the JBC, those who made it to the shortlist are mostly from the Court of Appeals (CA), namely, Justices Manuel Barrios who received six votes; Japar Dimaampao, six votes; Amy Lazaro-Javier, six votes; Ramon Cruz, five votes; Ramon Garcia, five votes; Mario Lopez, five votes; and Apolinario Bruselas Jr., four votes.
The others who made it to the shortlist are Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, five votes, and lawyer Cesar Villanueva, four votes.
The shortlist will be submitted to Malacanang for President Rodrigo Duterte to make his pick.
Under the Constitution, the President has 90 days from Jan. 5, 2019 to appoint Tijam’s successor.
The one selected will fill the seat which will be vacated upon the Jan. 5 compulsory retirement of Tijam.
Tijam was appointed SC magistrate on March 8, 2017 and was President Rodrigo Duterte’s second appointee at the high tribunal.
Prior his appointment at the SC, Tijam served as a justice at the Court of Appeals (CA).
Tijam is also Duterte’s classmate from the San Beda College of Law where the magistrate graduated Cum Laude and Class Salutatorian from the San Beda College of Law in 1971.
He passed the Bar Examinations on the same year at the age of 22.
Last week, the President promoted SC Associate Justice Lucas P. Bersamin as Chief Justice and CA Associate Justice Rosmari D. Carandang as SC associate justice.
Carandang was the seventh appointee of President Duterte to the SC. The first six appointees were Associate Justices Samuel Martires (who retired to assume the post of Ombudsman), Tijam, Andres B. Reyes Jr., Alexander G. Gesmundo, Jose C. Reyes Jr., and Ramon Paul L. Hernando.
This is on top of the President’s appointment of then Chief Justice Teresita J. Leonardo De Castro and the now Chief Justice Bersamin. Thus, technically, the President already has nine appointees to the SC.
Earlier, the JBC – the constitutionally mandated office that accepts, screens, and nominates appointments to the judiciary – had opened the recommendations or applications to the post of SC associate justice that was left with the promotion of Chief Justice Bersamin.