Press Release
November 26, 2008


Independent senator and justice advocate Kiko Pangilinan today called on the members of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to disclose to the public the outcome of the voting process for the incoming seven justices of the Supreme Court.

"The JBC currently stands at a pivotal point in our history as it is tasked to evaluate and recommend the seven incoming Supreme Court justices next year. With Malacañang pushing persistently for Charter Change, the JBC will in effect dictate the path this nation will take in the next years should the constitutional assembly debate be raised to the level of the High Court. The public therefore deserves to know all information they can get about the credibility and fitness of these future magistrates," Kiko said.

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is a constitutionally-created body that recommends appointees to the President for vacancies in the Supreme Court and the lower courts. Senator Kiko served as Senate ex-officio member to the body since 2001, initiating reforms such as the amendment of the the JBC Rules to make mandatory the public hearings, reworking the structure and staffing pattern of the JBC, regular staff development and workshops, among others.

Senator Kiko now works with his brainchild watchdog group Bantay Korte Suprema, a multi-sector organization that aims to ensure that the nomination, evaluation, recommendation and appointment of the seven incoming Supreme Court Justices be transparent and public, and not duly influenced by parochial and short-term political considerations.

"There was a nagging perception before that the JBC was an all boys club because the public was not made aware of the processes. We have made progress over the years in terms of transparency, and I urge the members of the JBC to take this opportunity to show further the body's relevance in this crucial time and divulging who they voted for and why these nominees are fit to hold such a vital position," Kiko added.

"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 transparency 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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