Dwarf-consulting ex-judge can't be Chief Justice

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 06 2012 11:15 PM | Updated as of Jul 07 2012 08:31 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A former judge who consulted dwarfs or "duwende" in deciding cases can't be Supreme Court chief justice, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) said Friday.

Former Malabon Regional Trial Court Judge Florentino Floro is not qualified to be the country's top magistrate because he was earlier dismissed from government service because of an administrative case, the JBC said.

Floro was relieved from the service in 2006 after the Supreme Court found him to be mentally unfit to discharge his duties.

He was found guilty of 7 out of 13 administrative charges filed against him by the Office of the Court Administrator.

While the Supreme Court said it had no authority to conclude that Floro was "insane," it cited medical findings that he was "suffering from psychosis."

It was not the first time that Floro has sought the chief justice post.

He also nominated himself for the position in 2010 when then-Chief Justice Reynato Puno retired.

Floro has yet to comment on his latest failed bid to be chief justice.

Several other applicants and nominees for the position were also disqualified by the JBC.

They include former Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Amelia Tria-Infante, who was fined P11,000 in an administrative case; nurse Jocelyn Esquivel, who is not a lawyer; and Ferdinand Jose David Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Pijao, who is past the mandatory retirement age of 70 years for the judiciary.

Twenty-two bets have remained on the JBC list.

They include Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, who both have pending administrative cases against them.

The JBC members Rep Niel Tupas Jr. and Jose Mejia said de Lima and Sarmiento will remain on the list but they will be disqualified if the cases against them not dismissed by July 30.

The JBC will vote on the short-list of candidates for the President's consideration on July 30.

On Monday, the names of the 22 remaining bets will be published in the newspapers.

The public will have 10 days to file any opposition against any of them. - with a report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News