Kiko Pangilinan: Bypassing JBC to appoint new Chief Justice is unconstitutional

January 13, 2010

Press Release
January 14, 2010


No JBC list, no valid appointment.

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan issues this statement today even as the current administration seemingly wants to fast track the process of appointing a new Chief of Justice.

“Article 8, Section 9 of the Constitution provides that members of the SC shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three names prepared by the JBC. In addition, Article 8, Section 4 identifies the Chief Justice and the 14 associate justices as members of the SC. Thus, as a member of the Court and consistent with Article 8, Section 9, the Chief Justice must be appointed by the President from a list prepared by the JBC. Without this list, a Chief Justice cannot be appointed by the President.”

Pangilinan adds that an appointment of a new CJ will violate the constitutional ban on midnight appointments.

“With so many provisions of the Constitution violated by such an appointment, it would be best for Malacanang to abandon the plan and spare the Court and the Office of the Chief Justice from being embroiled in such a controversy.”

“The biggest loser in this, should it escalate into an acrimonious legal battle, is the Court itself. The damage that can be done to the office of the Chief Justice being embroiled in an appointment of doubtful legality will be immeasurable, and its consequences far reaching. It could very well pit justices against justices, and may sharply divide the Court and the legal community in an unprecedented manner. This can lead to very damaging consequences for the rule of law.”

“Between having an acting Chief Justice take the place of CJ Puno, and having a permanent Chief Justice embroiled in legal and constitutional controversy, I will choose the former. The national interest is best served by insulating the office from illegal and unconstitutional acts of the Executive Department.”

“Let the next President choose the new Chief Justice.”