OUTSIDERS made it to the top of the shortlist of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) for the position of Presiding Justice of Sandiganbayan.
Court of Appeals Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas and Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rafael Santos are the top notchers with each having six votes.
Santos, who is a member of the Villaraza Marcelo Cruz law office or “The Firm”, has admitted that his nomination has the blessings of his boss, Secretary Manuel ‘Mar” Roxas
Bruselas, a Senior Justice in the CA, handled the controversial rape case of Lance Corp. Daniel Smith.
On the second spot with 5 votes each are Sandiganbayan Justices Efren Dela Cruz and Amparo Cabotaje-Tang. Coming in third with 4 votes each is Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory Ong.
There are six current members of the constitutional body tasked to vet nominees to judicial posts headed by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno.
The other members are Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, Jose Mejia, Milagros Fernan-Cayosa and retired CA Justice Aurora Santiago-Lagman.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd must choose the new Sandiganbayan presiding justice within 90 days from submission of the list.
The vacancy was caused by the retirement of Francisco Villaruz.