Press Release
October 9, 2006


Senate Majority Leader Kiko Pangilinan, ex-officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), announced today that the forthcoming vacancy for the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will be published in the coming days. The JBC will also be announcing the names of the first five senior incumbent Justices of the Supreme Court who are automatically considered for the nomination. Sen. Kiko called on the public to actively monitor and participate in the process by sending to the JBC, written reports, sworn complaints, or recommendations on the nominees on or before, October 30, 2006. Furthermore, Sen. Kiko leads calls for mandatory public interviews for the position.

"I proposed amendments to the Rules of the Judicial and Bar Council in 2001 to make mandatory public interviews of such crucial posts such as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I stress this need to execute a stringent and transparent process for the selection of the new Chief Justice, because our people have a right to participate in matters of public interest. Art. II, Sec. 1 of the Philippine Constitution, states that 'sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.' We want the public to exercise this right and in so doing, advance the cause of transparency in governance in our country," Sen. Kiko explained.

The JBC amended its Rules on Personal Interview under Rule 7, to provide for a conduct of public interview for the positions in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan and the Ombudsman. In December 2005, the JBC decided not to make public interviews of the incumbent Chief Justice, in spite of a previous decision to allow for public interviews.

"The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court plays a vital role in the realization of public accountability and dispensation of justice in our country. The Chief Justice will face tremendous problems in our justice system, from vacancies in the courts to the slow dispensation of justice. He or she, will need to find expeditious solutions. Hence, we need to carefully inspect the nominees' track records and uphold a stringent selection process, so as to ensure that only persons of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence, will be appointed to the position of Chief Justice. I feel that having media and the public, cover the public interviews for the next Chief Justice, would be a step in advancing good governance in the country. I call on our countrymen to seek the JBC to reconsider its position on public interviews," Sen. Kiko explained.

"If ever, the Public Interviews for the post can be held next month, after verification by the Ombudsman, DOJ, NBI and other related agencies of the applications and recommendations for the post, and a new Supreme Court Chief Justice can be announced by early December, " Sen. Kiko ended.

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