Panganiban: No Politics in Judiciary Appointments

Article excerpt

Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban steered the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) yesterday into adopting measures that would hasten the appointments in the judiciary as he acknowledged that partisan politics somehow deters the "best and the brightest" from seeking a judicial post.

"We would like as much as possible to eliminate partisan politics by nominating the best and the brightest. If we can nominate three good ones, irrespective of their political connections, then we will be happy," Panganiban said.

Chief Justice Panganiban is the ex-officio chair of the JBC, a constitutionally mandated office that accepts, screens, and nominates appointments in the judiciary.

Panganiban and the other members of the JBC met yesterday in a consultation with representatives of various law groups such as the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Philippine Bar Association (PBA), Women Lawyersa Group, and Philippine Judicial Academy (Philja) to iron out problems and come up with a speedier process in the selection of nominees to various posts in the judiciary.

There is a lone vacancy in the 15-member Supreme Court with the retirement last Dec. 19 of Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. The deadline for the submission of nominations from various groups is on Jan. 19.

There are six vacancies in the Court of Appeals and the deadline for nomination is on Jan. 23.

It could not be ascertained immediately how many vacancies are there in the trial courts.

Chief Justice Panganiban said the JBC members have agreed to open the application or nomination for judges and justices at least three months before their expected retirement. This way, he said, the JBC can hasten the selection process instead of waiting for the actual date of retirement.

"In this way our target would be as much as possible to finish the nomination process on or about the date of actual vacancy instead of beginning it thereafter, and then request the President to make the appointment within 90 days," Panganiban said. …