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JBC to finalize nomination, application procedures for the next CJ

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2018

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Judicial Bar Council (JBC) will convene on Monday (June 25) to set final guidelines on the nomination and application process for the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (SC).

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, an ex-officio member of the JBC, said in a text message on Thursday (June 21): “It is expected that the JBC will direct the publication of a notice stating that it will now accept applications or nominations for the vacant CJ position.”

Meanwhile, Atty. Jose Mejia assured that they will be strict when it comes to screening the applicants especially on the issue of the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN); an important document that triggered a controversy and toppled Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice.

“We have always been strict naman kasi simple lang naman kasi iyan. Here are the requirements you submit kaya lang may konting nuisances that had to happen,” Mejia explained.

Mejia added that they may also consider cutting the application period short.

“Normally we give 45 days, but with this one, since time is of the essence, maybe we will lower down the number of days for the application, ” he said.

After the screening process, the JBC will begin the public interviews before deliberating on the shortlist and voting for the person  they will recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte.

Under the law, the chief justice position must be filled within 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy. – JL Asayo / Marje Pelayo

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MMDA awaits SC decision on fate of provincial bus ban

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Friday, May 31st, 2019

File photo: MMDA personnel accost provincial buses traversing Edsa. (Photo courtesy of MMDA)

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced on Wednesday that it leaves the fate of the proposed provincial bus ban up to the Supreme Court (SC).

MMDA traffic chief Bong Nebrija said in an interview that “it will depend on the order of the Court if they will tell us to scrap the policy or to hold its implementation.”

He added that they are just waiting for the court order.

Nebrija made the statement after several lawmakers filed separate petitions before the SC to stop the implementation of MMDA Regulation No. 19-002.

The order seeks to ban all provincial buses from plying along Edsa, which one of the petitioners, Albay Representative Joey Salceda, believes as “oppressive and unfair.”

Read: Salceda urges SC to halt provincial bus ban on EDSA

Nebrija further said that while there is still no court order, the MMDA will still push through with its preparations and their plans for the bus terminal closure, which the agency targets to implement in June.

“We’ll wait kung go or no go but we are still preparing, we’re still pushing with the plan. In the absence of a court order, we will push through with it,” he added.

The MMDA official believes that the impending implementation of the provincial bus ban on Edsa remains as one of the best alternatives to decongest Metro Manila roads.

Read: MMDA: Edsa bus ban one of the best options in decongesting Metro Manila

Nebrija, however, said that they still haven’t come up with a timeline from preparations to implementation as they are still yet to receive the policy guidelines from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The MMDA had implemented a dry run of the bus ban in April but suspended it in less than a month.

Read: Provincial bus ban dry run suspended—MMDA

/mbmf

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SC permanently bans cutting of trees in Baguio City

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Friday, April 12th, 2019

Kennon Road in Baguio City

The Supreme Court has released its decision on Wednesday (April 10) to make permanent the temporary restraining order it issued on March 24, 2015 that restricted the cutting of trees along Luneta Hill for the expansion of a mall in the city.

“The permanent status of the temporary restraining order is without prejudice to the filing of an application of environmental compliance certificate in accordance with existing laws and regulations,” said SC Public Information Office Chief Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka.

The petitioners against the cutting of the trees in the city, however, were not satisfied with the Supreme Court’s decision, saying that the number of trees they were fighting for to save has now dwindled into half.

Glo Abaeo, former President of Cordillera Global Network said over a phone interview that it was a bittersweet victory for them, “because after 7 years ng ipinaglalaban namin, may magandang resulta pero ayun nga naputol na iyong karamihan ng kahoy doon. So from 182, na pinoprotesta namin noon I think 100 or more na yata ang naputol [because after 7 years that we have been fighting, we got good results, but still, many trees had been cut down. So from 182 that we are proresting (to be protected), I think 100 or more were cut down].”

Karlo Altomonte, Spokesperson of Save 182, on the other hand, said, “too late ang lumabas na desisyon. Pero napigilan sana natin yung panggagahasa sa kalikasan ng baguio kung umaksyion ang local government [the decision came too late. But we could have prevented the ravaging of the natural resources of Baguio (City) had the local government acted against it].”

In 2018, the Baguio City Local Government released the guidelines on issuing permits to business establishments about cutting trees.

The guidelines said exceptions on the ban to cut trees include trees that will put establishments and passers-by in danger, such as trees that have been rendered weak by infestation and trees that are already dead.  – Maris Federez (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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Petition seeking wage increase for gov’t workers filed at SC

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, January 14th, 2019

 House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr files a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to compel Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to implement the fourth tranche of salary increase for government workers.

MANILA, Philippines – House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. filed a petition at the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday (January 14) asking the high tribunal to order Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to implement the fourth tranche of salary increase for government workers.

“Huwag niyang gagawing dahilan ang reenacted budget dahil mayroon namang mga alituntunin na nakapaloob sa kaniyang departamento na para ibigay ito,” Andaya said.

“Nakakahiya naman na iyong bayad sa daang bilyong utang natin nababayaran natin kahit walang bagong budget. Ito pa kayang katiting lang,” he added.

According to Andaya, the P40 billion needed fund can be spliced from the P75 billion miscellaneous personnel benefits fund (MPBF).

Meanwhile, Diokno welcomed Andaya’s petition.

He said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is preparing its comments on the filed petition.

However, Diokno insisted that the reason for the delay in the salary increase was mainly because of the delays in the passage of the 2019 national budget.

“We welcome the petition of mandamus filed by Rep. Andaya at the Supreme Court, so that this issue will be settled once and for all,” Diokno said.

“Mayroon pong tinatawag na diskresyon o constitutional prerogative ang Kongreso kung kailan niya ipapasa ang budget. Hindi po iyan sa dikta ni Sec. Diokno pero siya meron siyang legal duty. Wala siyang diskresyon,” Andaya argued. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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