26 November 2008 – Wednesday
KIKO TURNS OVER JBC POST TO NEW MAJORITY;
CALLS FOR GREATER TRANSPARENCY IN THE SELECTION OF 7 NEW SC JUSTICES
Independent senator and Senate ex-officio member to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) for seven years Kiko Pangilinan today formally relinquished his post as representative to the constitutionally-created body that recommends appointees for vacancies in the Supreme Court and the lower courts.
“The JBC currently stands at a pivotal point in our history as it is tasked to evaluate and recommend the seven incoming Supreme Court justices next year. With Malacañang pushing persistently for Charter Change, the JBC will in effect dictate the path this nation will take in the next years should the constitutional assembly debate be raised to the level of the High Court,” Kiko said.
While serving his term at the JBC, Senator Kiko Pangilinan proposed for the amendment of the JBC Rules to make mandatory the public interviews of candidates to key positions in the Judiciary. He also proposed the creation of the Joint Judiciary, Executive and Legislative Advisory and Consultative Council, the first body that involves as members all three branches of government to explore the necessary budgetary support for filling the vacancy in courts, the creation of more courts, and the promotion of a strategic response to strengthening the rule of law. At present, he is active in his brainchild watchdog group Bantay Korte Suprema, a multi-sector organization that aims to ensure that the nomination, evaluation, recommendation and appointment of the seven incoming Supreme Court Justices be transparent and public, and not duly influenced by parochial and short-term political considerations.
“There was a nagging perception before that the JBC was an all boys club because the public was not made aware of the processes. For this reason, as soon as I sat in 2001, we amended the rules of the JBC that public interviews be mandatory, and have constantly worked on making the JBC accessible to the public. I trust that the next Senate representative will continue our fight for transparency and accountability in the JBC, especially at this time,” Kiko added.
“While we are leaving our post in the JBC, we will carry on with our advocacy to promote and strengthen the justice system in the country. We are watching the Supreme Court appointments closely along with so many concerned groups and individuals, and we will continue to craft relevant legislation for the judiciary,” Kiko ended.