MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2) - The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has chosen eight names for its shortlist of nominees for the position of Chief Justice.
The 8 are incumbent Supreme Court justices Antonio Carpio, Roberto Abad, Arturo Brion, Teresita Leonardo De Castro and Maria Lourdes Sereno; Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, ex-Ateneo Law School Dean Cesar Villanueva and former congressman Ronaldo Zamora.
The JBC also decided not to include Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in the shortlist of nominees for chief justice.
Speaking to reporters, Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. said the JBC did not vote on his proposal to suspend or amend the JBC rule to disqualify candidates facing administrative cases including disbarment.
"Wala nang voting. We did not suspend the rule. We tried to decide by consensus but we did not get it so na-disqualify si Secretary de Lima," he said.
De Lima, rumored to be President Aquino's top pick for the CJ post, was disqualified due to pending disbarment cases before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. The IBP earlier refused de Lima's petition to junk the disbarment cases.
Last Friday, JBC members failed to reach a consensus on the suspension or amendment of its disqualification rule.
Since the time of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. has been proposing for an amendment to the rule that disqualifies candidates to any judicial post and posts in the Office of the Ombudsman with pending criminal and/or regular administrative cases.
This rule is part of the Rules of the Judicial and Bar Council promulgated in October 2000.
Carpio led the shortlist with 7 votes. Abad, Brion, Jardeleza, Sereno, Zamora got six votes each. De Castro and Villanueva, on the other hand, got five votes each.
Jardeleza was earlier disqualified because of a pending disbarment case.
In an ambush interview, Tupas said Jardeleza was reconsidered because there was no prima facie evidence against him.
A source said SEC Chairperson Teresita Herbosa was also reconsidered, but failed to get into the shortlist.
The decision of the Supreme Court last week, automatically dismissing Carpio’s disbarment case, was used in the reconsideration of Jardeleza and Herbosa’s case.
Meanwhile, Tupas said his proposed amendment did not get support from the other members. He said, however, that this will be taken up at the proper time in the future.
He said the shortlist should be transmitted to Malacanang this afternoon.