MANILA - The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has returned the same shortlist for a vacant Sandiganbayan post to the Palace.
The Palace earlier asked the JBC to revisit the list. The JBC insists it is its constitutional mandate to screen applicants to posts in the judiciary and submit the list to the President.
The JBC, through Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, told the Palace that nowhere in its mandate does it state that the JBC is authorized to revisit its list once completed.
Though the SC did not authorize the release of Malacañang's letter to the JBC, dated June 19, signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, it is clear that Malacañang returned the list to the JBC and President Benigno Aquino III did not choose anyone from the list to appoint to the vacant Sandiganbayan post.
It is also clear, based on the JBC's response to the Palace's letter, that the JBC is insisting on its constitutional mandate and authority as the appropriate body to screen candidates to posts in the judiciary.
The Palace wrote the JBC and returned the shortlist to the JBC a day after news broke that President Aquino failed to make the Sandiganbayan appointment within 90 days from the submission of the list which is mandated by the 1987 Constitution.
The list was transmitted by the JBC to Malacañang last February 28.
The vacant post is due to the appointment of Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang as the Presiding Justice of the anti-graft court on Oct. 1, 2013.