JBC suspends voting for nominees to SC post

June 8, 2009 11:31 am 

MANILA, June 8 – Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Raul Gonzalez, a member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), on Monday said that the scheduled voting for today for nominees for the two vacancies in the Supreme Court (SC) was suspended.

The two vacancies were the result of the early retirement of Associate Justice Alicia Austria-Martinez due to health reasons on April 30, 2009 and Associate Justice Dante Tinga who reached the compulsory retirement age of 70 on May 11, 2009.

Gonzalez noted that Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera is a candidate vying to be appointed as an Associate Justice of the SC.

Devanadera was named Acting Justice Secretary by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with appointment papers signed on June 4, 2009.

However, Gonzalez said, the JBC earlier dropped Devanadera from being a candidate due to the cases filed against her before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Nonetheless, the Solicitor General asked the JBC during its meeting this afternoon that she be given the opportunity to explain her situation.

This prompted the JBC to suspend the voting as it gave Devanadera a period of two weeks from today within which to resolve the 17 cases against her with the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman earlier ordered Devanadera to submit her counter-affidavit in connection with the cases filed against her.

"In fairness to her (Devanadera), sana maresolve ang cases niya (may her cases be resolved)," Gonzalez said.

"Her fondest hope is to be SC Justice," he added.

"We have not yet decided when she will take over as Justice Secretary," Gonzalez pointed out.

Likewise, Gonzalez stressed that if Devanadera is nomimated to the SC, she will not be interested here (DOJ). (PNA)

DCT/PTR

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