If Aquino Returns Shortlist Of Nominees, JBC To Hold Its Ground

The Judicial and Bar Council will hold its ground should President Benigno Aquino III send back to the body the shortlist of eight nominees for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the council said Tuesday.

JBC ex-officio member Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. maintained that it is Aquino’s “duty to choose among the list,” adding the JBC will not change the contents of the shortlist should the President return it to them.

A similar incident happened in 2010 when former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sent back the council’s shortlist for Supreme Court chief.

But then Chief Justice Reynato Puno who led the JBC defied Arroyo, throwing the same list back to Malacañang.

The deadline for Aquino to make his final choice from the shortlist is on August 27.

Meanwhile, Tupas said that the JBC did not “single out” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, underscoring that the JBC was simply following its rules.

“I sympathize with the Secretary. I would’ve voted for her if she was qualified but she wasn’t singled out. The JBC just followed rules,” Tupas said.

He said that the President’s appointment of a chief magistrate would “complete the process started on December 12″ when lawmakers approved the impeachment complaint against Corona.

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