A day after President Noynoy Aquino delivered his 3rd State of the Nation Address where he encouraged the future Supreme Court Chief Justice to continue the change in the judicial system of the country, the Judicial and Bar Council or JBC started its public interviews of the nominees for the next Chief Justice.
With live television coverage, the 7-man panel conducted the interviews for the 1st batch of nominees. Interviewees for today includes, PCGG Chairman Andres Bautista, Soledad Cagampang De Castro, DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima, La Salle College of Law Dean Atty. Manuel Diokno, Solicitor Gen. Francis Jardeleza and Atty. Katrina Legarda. The JBC panel is composed of Justice Diosdado Peralta, former CA Justice Aurora Lagman, Jose Mejia, Usec Frederick Musngi, IBP officer Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, retired SC Justice Regino Hermosisima and Rep. Niel Tupas.
First to be interviewed by the panel was PCGG Chair Andres Bautista. In his opening statement before the panel could ask him a question he said the next Chief Justice objecive should be to overhaul the ineffective, inefficient and inadequate judicial system. He also said the the Chief Justice should have a fix 7- year term and that SC should open up to the public to restore its credibility. Meanwhile asked by Rep. Tupas his take on plagiarism as an impeachable offense, Bautista said he believes it is not.
Following Bautista was Atty. Soledad Cagampang de Castro. Asked about her acceptance of the nomination she said “JBC should have alternatives rather than be limited to known people”. Next to de Castro was DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima. De Lima’s nomination according to one of the panel members have the most number of oppositions. Asked about her defiance in the SC ruling on the hold departure order of former President Gloria Arroyo, she said it was not defiance because the decision is conditional and the party affected didn’t fully complied with the condition yet at that time thus she cannot execute the order. Asked also about her ties with the President being his alter ego and one of the cabinet members she said she would not have accepted nomination if she felt beholden to the president and urges JBC to look at her track record. With regards to her academic credentials and experience in the judiciary she said, “Character of CJ more important than academic credentials”.
During the afternoon session, Dean Manuel Diokno was the first to take the hotseat. Ask on CJ’s moral fitness he said that the Chief Justice should be like a monk. With regards to the issue of SALN he said he wants a more transparent judiciary. And if ever he will be appointed as the next Chief Justice his 4 point plan will be judicial transparency, public accountability, no flipflopping of decision, faster justice. After Diokno, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza followed. He said his vision for the judiciary is an independent branch of gov’t that earns the trust of the people. He also said his judicial philosophy is based on the rule of law. The court should lead by example.
Last but not the least of today’s interviewees was Atty. Katrina Legarda. If appointed she said she hope that she can persuade present SC justices that she’s not there to spy on them or report any “shenanigans”. She also said she can bring fairness and impartiality in the Supreme Court. She also mentioned that she is in favor of age appropriate sex education and her affirmative stand on the passing of divorce law. Asked how she wants to be remembered as Chief Justice if ever, she said “someone who has always been fair”.
Chief Justice nominee interviews will continue tomorrow at 9am and will still be telecast live. Scheduled for the interview tomorrow are Justice Roberto Abad, Rafael Morales, Raul Pangalangan, Justice Arturo Brion, Rene Sarmiento, and Manuel de Jesus Siayngco Jr.
- JBC starts interviews (newsinfo.inquirer.net)