8 candidates in shortlist for SC post: JBC

MANILA The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Monday released a shortlist of candidates to replace Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., who will retire on August 8.

The aspirants for the high court post include SC Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, Court of Appeals Justices Jose Reyes Jr., Apolinario Bruselas Jr., Rosmari Declaro-Carandang, Ramon Hernando, Ramon Garcia, and Amy Lazaro-Javier, and former Ateneo College of Law dean Cesar Villanueva.

Marquez, who is vying for a seat in the 15-member high court for the third time, has been serving the SC for 26 years.

He started his career in the SC in 1991 as a law clerk for several justices, including retired Associate Justice Abraham Sarmiento, Senior Justice and former Philippine Judicial Academy chancellor Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera, and retired Senior Associate Justice Josue Bellosillo.

He rose from the ranks and was appointed as SC spokesperson in 2007 during the term of retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno until the impeachment of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.

Marquez finished both his degree in Economics and juris doctor degree at the Ateneo de Manila University.

The current court administrator was among those who testified as resource persons in the House of Representatives' hearing on the impeachment complaint against ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Velasco was among the six justices who voted against the quo warranto petition that ousted Sereno from the top judiciary post.

His replacement would be President Rodrigo Duterte's fifth appointee to the high court, the others being Associate Justices Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., and Alexander Gesmundo.

The JBC is constitutionally mandated to screen applicants to the Judiciary and top Ombudsman positions.

It is currently chaired by Senior Associate Justice, now acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, with ex-officio members Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Senator Richard Gordon, and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali. Its regular members include retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza, representing the justices and chairperson of the JBC Executive Committee, Atty. Jose Mejia, representing the Academe, Atty. Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, representing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and retired Judge Toribio Ilao, representing the private sector.

The President has 90 days to name Velasco's replacement in the high court.

He is also expected to appoint the next Chief Justice and Ombudsman in the coming months.

Sereno's ouster became final after the SC junked her motion for reconsideration in a resolution issued last June 19 where it maintained its 8-6 vote.

The Ombudsman post is set to be vacated by Conchita Carpio-Morales on July 26.

Morales, 76, is a retired SC Associate Justice who was appointed by former president Benigno Aquino III as Ombudsman in 2011. (With reports from Rachel Banares/PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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