May 4, 2009
MANILA, Philippines—The judiciary watchdog Bantay Korte Suprema on Monday proposed to expand voting rights to legal experts who nominate aspirants to the Supreme Court, BKS convenor Senator Francis Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan, who met with Chief Justice Reynato Puno, ex-officio chairman of the Judicial and Bar Council, said his group proposed that legal experts be allowed to screen and join with the eight JBC members in voting for a shortlist of candidates that will be sent to Malacanang for final decision.
The JBC is a constitutionally created body (Article 8 Section 8 Paragraph 1) that screens appointees and applicants to vacant judicial posts.
Pangilinan said this proposal will ensure transparency in the process of nomination, selection, and appointment of justices. He said it would also ensure that those appointed to the posts will be free from political influence.
He said Puno is amenable to the proposal but said he needs to get the concurrence of other JBC members.
At the meeting, the group also proposed the use of webcams during JBC meetings, tapping the Civil Service Commission for background investigation; the publication of JBC members’ votes; and access to transcripts of the discussions through the Internet.
The BKS wants the plan to push through as soon as possible, as more justices are set to resign this year.
Justice Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez availed herself of the government’s early retirement program on April 30.
Other justices who are scheduled to retire this year include Justices Dante Tinga (May 11), Consuelo Ynares Santiago (October 5), Leonardo Quisumbing (November 6), and Minita Chico-Nazario (December 5).
Read the article in Inquirer.net