Kiko Moves to Amend JBC Rules; Open Voting Process to Public for Transparency
November 15, 2008
In a bid to promote transparency and participatory governance, Senate Majority Leader and Senate ex-officio member to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) Kiko Pangilinan today moved for the amendment of the JBC Rules to open the voting process, meetings and deliberations of the JBC to the public.
Kiko renewed his call to revise Section 1 of Rule 10 of the JBC which reads, “Votes required for inclusion as nominee.-No applicant shall be considered for nomination for appointment to a judicial position unless he shall obtain the affirmative vote of at least a majority of all the Members of the Council” in light of the seven upcoming vacancies for the Supreme Court Justice positions.
“With Chief Justice Reynato Puno’s compulsory retirement in 2010, the seven new associate justices will radically change the composition of the SC. We are not only talking of a change in the Judiciary but also a potential change in the direction of the nation should the constitutional assembly debate be raised to that level. The responsibility for this search should not only be given to the JBC. Filipinos should get involved in the process because this is a concrete way we can reform the judicial system, that’s why we reiterate our call to open the voting of the JBC,”Kiko explained.
Justice Ruben Reyes will retire on January 3, 2009. Also due to retire next year are: Justices Azcuna on February 16; Dante Tinga on May 11; Adolfo Consuelo Ynares-Santiago on October 5; Leonardo Quisumbing on November 6; and Minita Chico-Nazario on December 5.
“I am proposing the addition of the passage ‘With the exception of executive sessions tackling sensitive/delicate matters and/or subject/topics confidential in nature, which shall be made available to the public only upon majority vote of the members of the Council present, the voting process for any judicial post in the Sandiganbayan, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, or Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman, including all meetings and/or deliberations prior to voting, shall be open to the public.'” Kiko said.
“We have long worked on confronting the perceived exclusivity of the JBC’s selection process, as clearly, the appointment of our public officials is a matter of public interest. Our Constitution guarantees our people the right to information on the matters of public interest. In 2001, I also proposed for the amendment of the JBC Rules to make mandatory public interviews of candidates to key positions in the Judiciary. This is our continued thrust to not just promote transparency, but also to encourage our citizens to participate in these democratic processes,” Kiko ended. ###