Press Release
December 3, 2008


Major and imminent change in the Supreme Court Justices line-up and pending major cases on cha-cha should compel the Judicial Bar Council to prove transparency in all appointments in the judiciary, Senator Chiz Escudero today said.

Escudero, newly designated Senate representative to the JBC said transparency in the conduct of judicial appointment in the country has been long overdue. He said an open-voting system in all appointments in any judicial position should break the long practice and tradition of secrecy in judicial appointments.

"Judicial positions are sensitive and significant as they give rhyme and reason to constitutional and executive actions. Thus integrity and accountability should never be compromised on the side of the appointees and the appointing body as well".

The senator assured that as the Senate's representative to the JBC, he will endeavor to make public all the applicants and nominees to any judicial position to allow his colleagues in the senate and the public as well to place their comments and input in the interest of transparency and public accountability.

Last week, a resolution was passed in the Senate seeking an open voting in the JBC with Escudero throwing his full support into the resolution.

But even without the resolution, the senator said he would ensure utmost involvement of his colleagues and the public in JBC issues and proceedings.

"Any controversial issues with regard to JBC will be brought to the plenary by this representation. Widest dissemination possible and widest participation possible is what we will pursue if only to prove transparency in appointments to one of the country's most sensitive and vital institution".

Among the measures Escudero will take to get the public involved in judicial appointments is to provide a website where all applicants' and nominees' names will be posted. The public can then course through their comments and inputs on the names published in the same website.

As this will be the first time that JBC proceedings will be stripped of cloak of secrecy, the senator will elicit the cooperation of court watch groups to filter the names of the nominees that will be finally submitted to the President.

With the impending retirement of seven Supreme Court justices next year, all measures for transparency should already be placed given the revival of cha-cha by the president's allies, Escudero said.

He appealed for vigilance and active participation from the public to demand accountability from the people who holds and who will hold public offices as their decisions are of public interests.

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