The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) sent a transmittal letter to President Rodrigo Duterte with a shortlist of four Regional Trial Court judges and an Ombudsman director who shall vie for the position vacated by a retired Sandiganbayan associate justice.
The letter, dated December 9 stated: “Dear President Duterte…..Pursuant to Article VIII, Section 9 of the Constitution, the Judicial and Bar Council has the honor to submit the following nominations for the position of Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan [vice Hon. Jose R. Hernandez].”
Topping the list with seven votes from the council is Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Maryann Corpus-Mañalac. Vying for the post against her are two others from the Makati RTC — Judge Edgardo Caldona with six votes and Judge Honorio Guanlao Jr. with four votes.
Aparii, Cagayan RTC Judge Oscar Zaldivar got four votes.
The only non-trial court judge who made it in the shortlist is Bayani Jacinto, a director from the Office of the Ombudsman.
The JBC letter was signed by the seven members of the JBC, led by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno and attached with it were the curriculum vitae of the nominees.
The Sandiganbayan now has three vacancies with Hernandez’s retirement and the early retirement of Justice Napoleon Inoturan. On February 1, 2017, Justice Roland Jurado is also scheduled go on an early retirement.
The Sandiganbayan now has seven divisions composed of one presiding justice and 20 associate justices.
The seven-man council, which is constitutionally mandated to screen and vet nominees to the president for vacant posts in the judiciary and the Offices of the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman, is chaired by Sereno, with ex-officio members, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguierre II, along with members of the legislative branch namely Senator Richard Gordon and Rep. Reynaldo Umali of Mindoro Oriental, who have a term-sharing seat in the JBC.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez is the JBC executive committee head, lawyer Jose Mejia represents the academe, and Milagros Fernan-Cayosa represents the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the newest member retired Judge Toribio Ilao, represents the private sector. JOMAR CANLAS