Malacanang reviewing for 2nd time JBC list of nominees to Supreme Court — Bello

August 5, 2009 9:20 am 

MANILA, Aug. 5 — Malacanang is now reviewing for the second time the list of six nominees submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to fill the two vacancies in the Supreme Court, according to Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

Bello said the list, which was resent to the Office of the President by the JBC on Monday, is undergoing fresh review by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He said Malacañang recognizes the JBC’s constitutional mandate to submit at least three nominees per vacancy, "but we also have to be conscious of the fact that under the Constitution, it’s the President who appoints."

Earlier, Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita returned the list to Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno last month and requested for a longer list of nominees to be submitted for the President’s consideration.

In the JBC list are University of Santo Tomas law school dean Robert Abad; Court of Appeals Justices Martin S. Villarama Jr., Hakim S. Abdulwahid and Mariano C. del Castillo; Sandiganbayan Justice Francisco H. Villaruz Jr.; and corporate lawyer Rodolfo Robles.

"It’s just a request from the Office of the President because they have submitted more than three names per vacancy in the past. The President is not ordering the JBC to expand the list, it was a request," Bello stressed.

The Constitution provides that the President shall make an appointment of a new justice within 90 days from the existence of vacancy.

To be filled up are the two vacancies created by the retirement of Associate Justice Alicia Austria Martinez on April 30 and Associate Justice Dante O. Tinga on May 11. (PNA) scs/JCA

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