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

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019   •   381

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.

PH Supreme court affirms dismissal of petition for same-sex marriage

Robie de Guzman   •   January 6, 2020

Couples identified with the LGBT community hold a banner during a mass wedding ceremony in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 24 June 2018. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court upheld its decision to dismiss a petition seeking the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country.

In a notice sent to reporters on Monday, January 6, the Supreme Court en banc denied with finality the motion for reconsideration filed by the petitioners appealing the ruling issued in September.

“[T]he Court resolved to deny with finality the said motion for reconsideration as no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned decision,” the court said in a resolution dated December 10 but was only made public Monday.

Lawyer Jesus Falcis III and an LGBT group filed the petition asking the court to strike down as unconstitutional some of the provisions on the Family Code that limited marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

The high court in September ruled that the petition was deficient, lacked legal standing, and violated the principle of the hierarchy of courts.

DILG asks SC to probe incident of judge who helped release drunk cab driver

Robie de Guzman   •   January 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday called on the Supreme Court to investigate an incident involving a local judge who allegedly helped a purportedly drunk cab driver evade complaints for assaulting a police officer.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año asked Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta to probe a certain judge who allegedly bullied and shouted at police officers at the Baguio City Police Station to secure the immediate release of the taxi driver.

The DILG chief said, “There is a proper forum to secure the release of the suspect and that is not the police station.”

“He must wait for the police to process the case, the prosecutor to file charges against the suspect and for the case to be raffled to his sala before he can assume jurisdiction. The said judge has to follow the law, just like all of us,” he said.

“As guardian of the law, a judge must serve as an example in following the law and not in breaking it,” he added.

On Tuesday, internet user Jemar Skylar Pimentel posted a dashcam video showing a police officer, identified as Patrolman Julius Walang designated at the Baguio City Traffic Enforcement Unit, almost got run over as he tried to stop a cab driver who committed a traffic violation.

Walang accosted the cab driver and tried to issue a citation ticket for causing traffic along Abanao Street in Baguio City.

But instead of stopping, the taxi moved towards the police officer who had to cling onto the cab’s hood to prevent him from fleeing.

ayu imbag ta nalaing dytoi pulis nga nsan q… salamat sa kuha ng DASHCAM from #PONGTAO DASHCAM

Posted by Jemar Skylar Pimentel on Tuesday, 31 December 2019

The cab driver, identified as Jone Dominguez Buclay, was later on brought to the police station and was determined to be under the influence of alcohol.

During Buclay’s detention, police officers on duty claimed that a judge suddenly barged into the police station, intimidated and shouted at them without even asking what really transpired in the incident.

The judge was also allegedly seen leaving the premises of the police station together with the taxi driver-suspect.

Año said the judge’s disregard of the law and use of the “padrino system” should never be tolerated and is very unbecoming of him as an arbiter of the law. 

He also expressed hope that the SC would help them in investigating the judge.

“Sana ay matulungan tayo ng SC at maimbestigahan nila agad ang asal ng judge na ito,” he said.

“We should not let these people get away with abuse of power in our country,” he added.

In response to Año’s call, the SC’s Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) said it is now checking the case.

“The OCA is already looking into this issue,” Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said in a message to reporters Thursday.

“We would like to get all available information before we require the concerned judge to comment,” he added.

Meanwhile, the DILG commended the police officer for “bravely enforcing the law at the risk of his own life.”

“Salamat, Patronman Julius Walang, sa tapat at walang takot na pagtupad sa iyong tungkulin. Kailangan natin ng mga pulis na katulad mo na hindi nagdadalawang-isip na itaya ang buhay para sa tawag ng tungkulin. Mabuhay ka!,” Año said.

“May you be an inspiration, not just to the police officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP), but to all of us in law enforcement as we perform our duty on a daily basis,” he added.

READ: Dispositive portion of Ampatuan massacre case ruling

UNTV News   •   December 19, 2019

Read below the dispositive portion of the ruling on the Ampatuan massacre case handed down on Thursday by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn-Reyes.

This was posted by the Supreme Court Public Information Office on Twitter.

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