JBC to have broader powers in proposed charter: Concom

MANILA Aside from having the power to screen nominees for the Judiciary, the Consultative Committee (Concom) tasked by President Rodrigo R. Duterte to review the 1987 Constitution is looking at giving the Judicial Bar Council (JBC) additional powers to discipline officials and employees in the Judiciary.

This will be among the proposed provisions which will be submitted to the en banc for final voting next week, Concom Senior Technical Assistant and spokesperson Ding Generoso said in a press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on Wednesday.

Generoso said that the JBC will be renamed as the Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Council (JADC) to reflect its broader powers, functions, and coverage of vetting.

It is proposed that the Judicial and Bar Council shall be renamed Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Council because the Concom wants to add to its powers and functions, not just screening of nominees for Judiciary but other functions as well, Generoso said.

Additional powers

The principal function of the current JBC is to recommend appointees to the Judiciary where members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees preferred by the council.

However, the Concom wanted the proposed JADC to also have powers of vetting for promotion and transfer of justices and judges and investigation of complaints for appropriate disciplinary action.

The JADC will have the power to conduct a thorough search and investigation to find the most qualified candidates for vacant positions of justices and judges in the Judiciary and recommend to the proper appointing authority the promotion or transfer of justices and judges.

It may also investigate cases filed against members and employees of the Judiciary and submit findings to the High Court that has control and supervision over the subject of complaint or investigation.

The JADC will decide by a majority vote of all the members sitting en banc.

New composition

Generoso said that the Concom wanted to change the composition of the JBC.

Under the current Constitution, the JBC is composed of three Ex-Officio members namely the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who will sit as ex-officio chairman, Secretary of Justice, and Representative of Congress.

It is also composed of four regular members namely a representative of the Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a representative of the private sector, and a retired member of the Supreme Court.

Regular members are appointed by the President for a term of four years; confirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA).

The JBC is also under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

However, under the proposed Federal system, the Concom wants there to be 10 Ex-Officio members namely Chief of Justice of the Federal Supreme Court, presiding Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court, presiding Justice of the Federal Administrative Court, representative from the Senate, representative from the House of Representatives, Ombudsman, Chairman of the Commission on Audit, Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, Secretary of Justice and Court Administrator of the Federal Supreme Court.

Chairmanship of the JADC will be rotated every two years among the Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court, presiding Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court, and presiding Justice of the Federal Administrative Court.

It will also be composed of four regular members namely a representative from and designated by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines,a law professor designated by the Philippine Association of Law Schools, a representative from and designated by the Association of Generals and Flag Officers, and a retired member of the Federal Supreme Court to be designated by the Association of the Retired Justices of the Federal Supreme Court.

Regular members will serve four years and will not require confirmation or reappointment.

The JADC will also be independent as it will no longer be under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

Concom member and former Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura said that the inclusion of the Ombudsman, COA chairman, and CSC chairman in the JADC is to add competence and integrity to its members.

These are supposed to be men and women of proven competence and integrity Nachura said.

Nachura, meanwhile, stressed that there were still gray areas in the Article in the Judiciary which he hoped would be threshed out by Friday (June 1). (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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