Next the Supreme Court is known next week
A Chief Justice is expected to be known soon after November 23.
On Friday, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) elects 4-2 to hold a closed interview or executive session with five of the most senior judges from the Supreme Court (SC) who submit applications for the highest office of the judiciary.
JBC decided to abolish public interviews after the SC tried to release the five most senior judges from such interviews.
It organizes closed interviews on November 23 and voting immediately after the short list of candidates.
This means that after that date, President Rodrigo Duterte can appoint a new Chief Justice after sending a short list to Malacañang.
The Manila Times learned that a JBC member who opposed public interviews for senior SC judges was Mariano del Castillo, who acted as chairman of JBC; and Minister of Justice Menardo Guevarra and Senator Richard Gordon, ex-officio JBC members.
Retired SC Judge Jose Catral Mendoza, also a regular member of JBC, also wants to get rid of public interviews for the executive session.
His proposal was adopted by the entire board.
Retired Judge Toribio Ilao and Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, regular members of JBC, decided that the Supreme Court Judge must undergo a public interview.
Two of the senior SC judges – Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin – were previously openly interviewed for high-level judicial work during the term of office of Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro.
As such, only SC Judge Antonio Carpio and Estela Perlas-Bernabe will be interviewed on November 23.
Guevarra stressed that the majority vote of JBC had decided to remove public interviews from five senior SC judges.
The five most senior judges from SC – Peralta, Bersamin, Carpio, Bersamin and Bernabe – and del Castillo will be automatically nominated by the board but must submit a letter of compliance / acceptance and comply with all requirements, including submission to At least 10 Sworn Statements, Assets, Obligations, and their latest Net Value or SALN.
Del Castillo, however, refused an automatic nomination, giving him a place to be acting chairman of JBC, not Carpio, who received the nomination.
SC Justice Andres Reyes Jr. has submitted another application for the post.
Reyes, Peralta and Bersamin will no longer be interviewed because their previous interviews remain valid for one year after their last application for the position of Chief Justice who finally went to De Castro.