MANILA, Philippines - The candidates for the Chief Justice position should be the first to object to the additional requirements being imposed on them by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), lawyer Romulo Macalintal said.
“As future Chief Justice, they are expected to protect and defend the constitution should there be any sign of its apparent violation,” he noted.
In particular, Macalintal took offense over the requirement that the candidates undergo psychological testing.
“These impositions made by the JBC are unconstitutional because such requirements are not provided for by the constitution,” he said.
He added the requirement is also discriminatory since this has not been imposed on other applicants for lower courts and also on government officials.
He also asked: “Since all incumbent Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and other cabinet members have been nominated to the CJ position, should they still undergo such test to prove that they are of sound mind and unblemished character? What if they failed the test. Will it be a ground for their removal from office?”
He likened the issue to that of former Secretary of State George Shultz back in 1985.
Then United States President Ronald Reagan required a polygraph testing for all federal employees, even for his Cabinet officials. He said this was to combat espionage within the government.
Shultz took a stand, however, and said: “The day in this Government I am told that I am not trusted is the day that I leave.”
Reagan eventually dropped his plans.
“In other words, like Shultz, these aspirants should take a stand on this constitutional issue even to the extent of jeopardizing their chances of being appointed to the said position to prove that they are ready to set aside personal interests in defense of our constitution,” he said.