PNoy replaces INC rep to JBC with Ochoa classmate

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 02 2011 06:32 PM | Updated as of May 03 2011 02:32 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañan has set aside the appointment of former Justice Secretary Artemio Tuquero to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) and instead appointed a law school classmate of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr.

In a one-page transmittal letter from the Office of the Executive Secretary to Chief Justice Renato Corona dated April 28, 2011, President Benigno Aquino Jr. did not issue the re-appointment of Tuquero, a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), but instead appointed Jose V. Mejia as the representative of the academe.

Tuquero was appointed by Aquino ad interim to the JBC in November 2010 while Congress was in session.

Tuquero's  reappointment hit a snag as some quarters suspected a brewing rift between Malacañan and the INC in view of the latter's reported support for embattled Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez who was slapped with two impeachment cases at the lower house.

Gutierrez was set to face trial at the Senate, but tendered her irrevocable resignation to President Aquino last week. Her resignation takes effect on May 6.

In the appointment papers of Mejia signed by Aquino, it was stated that he will serve as JBC member until July 9, 2014.

"Pursuant to the provisions of Article VII, Section 16 of the Constitution and existing laws, you are hereby appointed ad interim Member, Representing the Academe, Judicial and Bar Council, Supreme Court of the Philippines, for a term expiring on 09 July 2014," the appointment paper read.

Mejia was a classmate of Ochoa at the Ateneo Law School.