Palace defends appointment of Justice del Castillo to SC

August 7, 2009 10:19 am 

MANILA, Aug. 7 — Malacanang defended today the appointment of Court of Appeals Justice Mariano C. del Castillo to the Supreme Court, saying he was in the list of six nominees of the Judicial and Bar Council that underwent the rigid screening.

Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a radio interview that del Castillo’s appointment only means that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo accepted the list of nominees submitted by the JBC.

Del Castillo replaced Justice Ma. Alicia Austria Martinez who retired last April 30. He took his oath of office Thursday before Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno.

Another vacant position, that of Justice Dante Tinga, has yet to be filled up although Bello said the appointee could come from the same list submitted by JBC to the Palace.

Bello took exception to reports that del Castillo was chosen because of her closeness to President Arroyo, saying all applicants undergo tight screening by the JBC based on their scholastic, work experiences and their character references.

Aside from Justice del Castillo, those included in the JBC list are: University of Santo Tomas Dean of the Faculty of Civil Law Roberto A. Abad, Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama Jr., Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Francisco H. Villaruz Jr., CA Associate Justice Hakim S. Abdulwahid, and lawyer Rodolfo D. Robles. (PNA) /V3/OPS/ssc/

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