Three most senior SC members decline nomination to chief justice post –Devanadera

January 25, 2010 10:55 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 25 – Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Agnes Devanadera, a member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), on Monday said that by tradition, the five most senior members of the Supreme Court (SC) are considered as applicants or nominees to the post of Chief Justice.

But Devandera was quick to say that three of the five most senior SC members have declined nomination to the post.

Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who chairs the JBC, will reach the compulsory retirement age of 70 on May 17, 2010.

Devanadera said that the JBC received a letter from Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, Jr. declining a nomination for the Chief Justice post, saying that he was not interested to participate in the nomination process of the JBC.

Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura also sent a letter to the JBC, declining any nomination as Chief Justice, saying that he would like to defer to the most senior member of the Court.

On the other hand, Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales sent the JBC a letter expressing her intention to take part in the nomination process but only if the appointment will be made by the next president.

"If there are no words that they are declining, they are considered as applicants to the SC Chief Justice post," Devanadera said.

Devanadera said that the JBC only nominates to the Office of the President (OP) seeing to it that they are qualified and all of them will be a good chief justice.

"We leave it to the President to choose from any of the nominees," Devanadera said.

Devanadera noted that the outsider, a non-member of the SC once included in the shortlist of nominees, is considered as qualified.

She, however, pointed out that Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee was not a senior associate justice of the SC when he was appointed as chief justice of the highest court of the land.

Devanadera said that Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was the only outsider to apply as chief justice, but she was not selected and her name was not included in the names submitted to the President. (PNA)

RMA/PTR

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