June 7, 2012
Former Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) member and former Chairman of the Senate Justice Committee, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, urges the JBC to amend its rules to make transparent and available to the public the selection and voting process for the next Chief Justice.
“Transparency is key in ensuring accountability from our public officials,” Pangilinan says. “When we establish transparency from the start of the selection process all the way through the voting, we will have the trust of our people. There will be no need for another draining impeachment process as well will have little to no controversy when the voting process is made open to the public.”
The JBC is expected to disclose names of nominees for the next Chief Justice within the next 90 days. During his stint as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice from August 2001 to January 2004, and as the Senate representative to the JBC from 2001 to 2007, Pangilinan opened to the public the interview process of nominees to the JBC. He hopes the JBC will heed his request anew to make the voting process just as transparent.
“It is imperative that even before we name nominees to the post, we ought to have introduced the necessary reforms in the processes. This will ensure ultimate transparency, accountability, and good governance.”
The lawyer-senator explains, “The rules are not set in stone and may be amended as the JBC sees sit, for as the times call for change. We have learned fresh lessons from the recently concluded impeachment trial and must do our best to avoid making the same mistakes. We need to get back the trust of our people, and we can do this only with utmost transparency.”