Frank Chavez questions composition of JBC

By Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2012 04:19 PM | Updated as of Jun 23 2012 12:19 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Former Solicitor General Frank Chavez questioned Friday the current composition of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which will draft the shortlist for the next Chief Justice.

Chavez said there should be 7 JBC members and 1 representative from Congress but instead there are 8 members including 2 members of Congress.

Chavez, who is nominated for the position of Chief Justice, said that under section 8 (1) article VIII of the Constitution, the JBC should only have 7 members.

Three of these members sit in the Council in an ex-officio capacity. The Chief Justice is the ex-oficio chairman and the Secretary of Justice and a representative of Congress are ex-officio members.

The 4 others are regular members who are appointed by the President, with the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments.

Chavez said that based on the Constitution, there should only be one representative from Congress. But the current composition of the JBC has 2 reps from Congress (1 from Senate, 1 from House of Representatives), thus, totaling 8 members.

Chavez asked if the 2 representatives of Congress are entitled to cast one vote each.

He said he would like to be clarified on these issues as he fears that the acts, recommendations and resolutions of the JBC, if not rightly constituted as required by the Constitution, may not be valid and binding.