MANILA, Philippines - The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) expects to come up with the short-list of nominees for the vacancy in the Supreme Court by the first week of August.
The applicants will have to first hurdle public interviews, however, which will start on July 19.
In a press conference, Court Administrator and SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said the names of the 28 candidates will be published in major dailies this week.
This is to source from the public their comments or disapproval over the candidates’ credentials, he said.
Those who applied or were nominated are: Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres Reyes, CA Associate Justices Hakim Abdulwahid, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Magdangal De Leon, Isaias Dicdican, Noel Tijam, Portia Aliño Hormachuelos, Rosmari Carandang, Remedios Salazar-Fernando, Japar Dimaampao, Bienvenido Reyes, Jose Reyes Jr., Vicente Veloso, and Mariflor Punzalan-Castillo.
Members of the academe are also joining the screening process: law deans Raul Pangalangan of University of the Philippines (UP), Cesar Villanueva of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), Amado Valdez of the University of the East, and Asian Institute of Management Policy Center Executive Director Ma. Lourdes Sereno.
Court of Tax Appeals Lovell Bautista is also expected to appear for his public interview.
From the Sandiganbayan, on the other hand, are: Presiding Justice Edilberto Sandoval and Francisco Villaruz, Jr.
Deputy Court Administrators Nimfa Vilches and Edwin Villasor are also joining the screening process.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, lawyer Katrina Legarda, former Department of National Defense Undersecretary for legal affairs and special concerns Alberto Valenzuela Jr., and Ambassador Manuel Teehankee have also signified their interest in the position.
The high court currently has 14 members, after former Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno retired on May 17.
One of the most senior justices, Renato Corona, later took over the chief magistrate position.
Corona, who automatically became the JBC’s ex-officio chairman, earlier said the council has to fast-track the process since President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino only has until August 17 to appoint.
The Constitution prescribes that the sitting president has 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy to fill up the position.
Besides this first vacancy, Aquino will still get to appoint 4 more during his term.
He will have to appoint the replacements for Associate Justices Antonio Eduardo Nachura (June 13, 2011), Conchita Carpio-Morales (June 19, 2011), Roberto A. Abad (May 22, 2014) and Martin S. Villarama (April 14, 2016).