Press Release
October 20, 2008

Kiko urges public to scrutinize SC nominees

Senate Majority Leader and Judicial Bar Council (JBC) ex-officio member Kiko Pangilinan today urged the public to keep a close eye on the nominees for the Supreme Court Justice position being vacated by Justice Ruben Reyes.

"Now that we have the names of applicants who are vying for the first of seven vacancies that the Supreme Court will have, we call on our public to monitor closely these aspirants and to participate actively in examining their credentials and integrity. We welcome any and all information from our public regarding these candidates," Kiko said.

The nominations for the position of Justice Reyes, who will retire on January 3, 2009, closed last October 13, 2008. Also due to retire next year are: Justices Azcuna on February 16; Dante Tinga on May 11; Adolfo Consuelo Ynares-Santiago on October 5; Leonardo Quisumbing on November 6; and Minita Chico-Nazario on December 5

"With Chief Justice Reynato Puno's compulsory retirement in 2010, the seven new associate justices will radically change the composition of the SC. We are not only talking of a change in the Judiciary but also a potential change in the direction of the nation should the constitutional assembly debate be raised to that level. The responsibility for this search should not only be given to the JBC. Filipinos should get involved in the process because this is a concrete way we can reform the judicial system, " Kiko explained.

According to its rules, the JBC's most crucial function is its task of recommending candidates for judicial positions "because the virtues and qualities of competence, integrity, probity and independence are not easily determinable as they are nurtured and developed through the years; and is self evident that, to be a good judge, one must have attained sufficient mastery of law and legal principles, be of irreproachable character and must possess unsullied reputation and integrity, should consider his office as a sacred public trust."

Since the start of the year, Kiko has been encouraging the public to participate in the selection process. Last month, he announced that his office welcomed information from private citizens about the eligibility as well as unsuitability of SC candidates.

"Never since the restoration of democracy have the SC and the judiciary faced the exercise of the power of appointment by Malacañang in such a manner and in such a short period. The highest vigilance is necessary if we are to ensure that the exercise of such a power within such a short period is not abused," Kiko ended.

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