The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is set to vote on Friday on vacancies for two Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justices, who shall be the first appointees of President Rodrigo Duterte in the tribunal.
The council will vote first on a shortlist of nominees whose names will be submitted to Duterte for his approval.
The new appointees will occupy the seats to be vacated by Justices Arturo Brion and Jose Perez.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared unconstitutional and illegal the powers of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and the JBC to clip the power of the President of the Philippines in making appointments in the judiciary.
By unanimous vote, it voided JBC’s “clustering” of the shortlist of nominees for all positions in the judiciary.
Among the SC applicants who were interviewed recently are Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta, Rita Linda Ventura Jimeno, Pasig City (Metro Manila) Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Rowena Apao-Adlawan and Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Japar Dimaampao.
Other applicants are Sandiganbayan Justice Samuel Martires, Chief State Counsel Ricardo Paras and CA Justice Noel Tijam.
There are other applicants for screening but they will no longer be interviewed because their previous interviews are still valid, according to the JBC.
These are CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes; CA Justices Rosmari Carandang, Jose Reyes , Stephen Cruz and Apolinario Bruselas; Sandiganbayan Justice Alex Quiroz; and Quezon City RTC Judge Reynaldo Daway.
The seven-man JBC, 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 headed by Sereno, with ex-officio members Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguierre 2nd, Sen. Richard Gordon and Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali.
Retired SC Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, head of the Executive Committee; lawyer Jose Mejia representing the academe; Milagros Fernan-Cayosa representing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and the newest member retired Judge Toribio Ilao representing the private sector are the other regular members of the JBC.