JBC to wait for final SC ruling on Sereno ouster before opening nominations for chief justice

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2018 03:52 PM

Red Ribbons, of critics of Sereno tied to the gate at the Supreme Court on Padre Faura, Manila, May 11, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will wait for the final ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) on the quo warranto case against ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno before acting on the order of the high court for it to open the process of nominations and applications for her replacement, a member said Friday.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, a regular member of the JBC, told ABS-CBN News that the council, which held its regular meeting on Friday, “will open nominations/applications once the vacancy becomes permanent i.e., if and when the QW (quo warranto) becomes final.” 

On May 11, the high court, voting 8-6, granted the Office of the Solicitor General’s quo warranto petition and ousted Sereno for “unlawfully” holding the chief justice post for her failure to file and submit Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs).

The high court also declared the position of Chief Justice “vacant” and directed the JBC “to commence the application and nomination process.”

Sereno has 15 days to file a motion for reconsideration. Should she fail to do so, the decision becomes final and the JBC can then open the period of applications and nominations. 

If she files the pleading, the high court will again deliberate the case and put it to a vote. Once a vote on the motion for reconsideration is done, the decision becomes final. Should Sereno lose on motion for reconsideration, the period of applications and nominations for the next chief magistrate will commence. 

From the time of vacancy, the president has 90 days to appoint the next Chief Justice. 

The JBC, the body tasked by the Constitution to screen applicants to the Judiciary and Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsmen posts, is chaired by Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, with ex-officio members Guevarra, Senator Richard Gordon, and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali; apart from Guevarra, its other regular members are lawyers Jose Mejia, representing the Academe, Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, representing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and retired Judge Toribio Ilao, representing the private sector.

The council’s executive committee is headed by retired SC Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza.