JBC extends deadline for Chief Justice application, nomination to Sept. 2

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019   •   233

MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has extended until September 2 the deadline for application and nomination of the next Chief Justice of Supreme Court, a panel member announced on Thursday.

According to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the council decided to extend the deadline to invite more applicants to the position.

The application for the next chief justice initially closed on August 20.

Only four Supreme Court justices have filed their application and acceptance of nomination, namely, Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Andres Reyes Jr and Jose Reyes Jr.

Perlas-Bernabe and Peralta were among the five SC senior associate justices who were automatically nominated for the post. The other three magistrates are Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Marvic Leonen and Benjamin Caguiao who all rejected their automatic nominations.

Carpio earlier said he declined his nomination as he is set to retire in October. Leonen and Caguiao, however, did not cite their reasons.

The chief justice position will be vacated when CJ Lucas Bersamin will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 on October 18.

Bersamin was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as chief justice on November 28, 2018.

SC overturns decision to disqualify Camarines Norte gubernatorial bet

Marje Pelayo   •   September 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Voting 8-6, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (September 10) granted the petition of Camarines Norte gubernatorial candidate Edgardo Tallado who questioned his disqualification by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the last May 19 elections.

Tallado was allowed to run after the SC issued a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) following Comelec’s decision to disqualify him from the race.

The SC decision, penned by Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, stated that the Court En Banc overturned the Comelec’s decision to disqualify Tallado to run in the gubernatorial race.

The SC Public Information Office will issue a copy of the decision through its website once they receive the official copy from the Office of the Clerk of Court En Banc.

Concurring with Bersamin were Justices Diosdado Peralta, Alexander Gesmundo, Andres Reyes Jr., Jose Reyes Jr., Amy Lazaro-Javier, Henry Jean Paul Inting and Rodil Zalameda.

Dissenting were Justice Francis Jardeleza, Antonio Carpio, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, and Rosmari Carandang.

Comelec had disqualified Tallado to run due to what the poll body says as questionable years of service as governor of Camarines Norte, pointing out that should they grant Tallado’s certificate of candidacy, it would have already been his 4th term as governor.

The law provides that gubernatorial post is only limited to three consecutive terms.

However, Tallado took his case to the Supreme Court questioning the decision of the Comelec, insisting that he is still eligible to run for the May 2019 polls as he was suspended from office in 2015 and was reinstated only in 2018.

Tallado won as the governor of Camarines Norte after garnering 149,002 votes against his rival Cathy Barcelona-Reyes who had 104,635 votes.

Comelec has yet to comment on the matter as it yet to receive a copy of the SC decision. — Marje Pelayo

JBC resumes public interview of applicants for SC posts

Maris Federez   •   September 9, 2019

The applicants for the soon-to-be-vacated posts in the Supreme Court (SC) went through the close scrutiny of the members of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), as day-2 of the public interviews resumed today.

Among the applicants who waited in line were Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, Atty. Jeremy Gatdula and Atty. Cesar Villanueva.

The soon-to-be-vacated positions in the Supreme Court are that of Associate Justice Francis Jardaleza who is set to retire on September 26, and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who will be retiring on October 26.

Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, on the other hand, will also be retiring on October 18.

The JBC will start conducting public interviews on applicants who will be vying for the position of chief magistrate of the Supreme Court on October 2. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

SC ready to accept petitions on GCTA law

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday said it is ready to accept petitions challenging the provisions of the Republic Act 10592 or the law which increased the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) given to inmates.

SC Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said they will accept the petitions especially if these meet all the requirements and are found with justiciable issue.

The SC chief magistrate added that it will also depend on the crafting of the petition whether the SC can exercise its jurisdiction toward a particular matter.

“As to what issues will be raised there, it will depend on whether that issue is premature or not yet justiciable. Assuming na justiciable na yan, we can surely accept,” Bersamin said.

The law containing the new rule on GCTA has been recently placed under scrutiny following reports that convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez could be among the 11,000 persons deprived of liberty who are eligible for early release for good behavior while in prison.

Sanchez was convicted in 1995 for the rape and murder of student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez. He has been in jail for 25 years for seven terms of reclusion perpetua.

The law was passed and signed during the time of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino in 2013. Last June 2019, the SC ruled that the law could be applied retroactively.

“These matters that are being discussed in the public investigation of the Senate will deal probably with the specific situation where an applicant or person presently detained will probably be denied or release, so that is the good time to say na justiciable na siguro yan,” Bersamin said. RRD (with details from Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

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