Chavez questions JBC composition with SC

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 02 2012 11:54 AM | Updated as of Jul 02 2012 09:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez filed with the Supreme Court (SC) today a petition questioning the composition of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), specifically, the two representatives from Congress, namely: Sen. Francis Escudero and Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr.

Chavez sought the immediate issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) to restrain the council from further functioning.

Chavez insists the composition of the JBC, the body tasked to screen applicants and nominees for judicial posts and the post of Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsmen, should only be 7, not 8.

He stressed that the phrase "a representative of the Congress" used by the Constitution in Sec. 8, Art. VIII is "all to clear" to mean only one JBC member should come from the legislature. 

Chavez filed his petition before the high tribunal after Sen. Escudero announced the JBC will continue to function with its present composition until restrained by the Supreme Court.

Currently, the JBC is composed of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (in place of the Chief Justice), Justice Sec. Leila De Lima, Escudero, Tupas, Justice Regino Hermosisima (representing retired justices of the Supreme Court), retired Court of Appeals Justice Aurora Lagman (private sector), Atty. Milagros Fernan-Cayosa (Integrated Bar of the Philippines), Atty. Jose Mejia (academe), SC Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, Jr. (consultant), SC Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro (consultant), and SC Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez (consultant).

Chavez will not accept his nomination for Chief Justice by Melchor Magdamo and Manuel Baviera, saying he refuses to validate the actions of the JBC.

"Hindi ko pwede isailalim ang sarili ko sa proceedings ng JBC, otherwise I will be validating this error," he said.