MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will choose his first pick for Supreme Court justice from 6 names to be submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council.
Court of Appeals Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao got 6 votes from the council that suggests names to the judiciary.
Former University of the Philippines College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan and Court of Appeals Associate Justice Noel Tijam got 5 votes each.
Court of Appeals Associate Justice Hakim Abdulwahid, Commission on Elections Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and Asian Institute of Management Policy Center Executive Director Ma. Lourdes Sereno got 4 votes each.
Some of the names are first-time contenders.
Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said the list will be submitted later today or tomorrow.
Only 7 JBC members were present in the meeting this afternoon. Aquino has yet to appoint a regular member to fill in the vacancy left by Dean Amado Dimayuga.
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 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).