JBC in the spotlight
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The impeachment and removal from office of Chief Justice Renato Corona can be considered as one of the major achievements of President Aquino in his 2 years in office. Corona, who was appointed at the stroke of midnight by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was widely perceived as one of the insurance policies of Aquino’s predecessor and a stumbling block in his crusade against corruption.
However, the slapdash and crude manner at which Corona’s removal from office was achieved meant that the image of the Supreme Court suffered a lot of collateral damage in the process. The best way that the high court can move on and restore its rightful place in the eyes of the public is if the right replacement is nominated and chosen to be the new leader of the third and co-equal branch of government.
After peaking at more than 70 applicants and nominees, the number of people vying for the post vacated by Corona is currently down to a more manageable 24. The burden of culling this list down to the most qualified and truly independent minded candidates now goes to the Judicial and Bar Council who will submit to the President a list of at least three nominees from which he will choose the next Chief Justice of the country.
The screening process under the JBC will be subject to tough public scrutiny and everybody in this country is hoping that the JBC will do its job properly and make doubly sure that the shortlist they will present to the President will be full of people who have qualified and independent minds. Aside from probing the qualifications and capabilities of the nominees, the JBC should also take into consideration other factors, such as deciding if it should spare the President from having to make a controversial choice that could do more harm than good to the damaged image of the judiciary and the country in general.
If it weren’t for the gripping impeachment trial of Renato Corona, the JBC and its role in the selection of the country’s Chief Justice would have been an afterthought. The members of this JBC have the added burden of knowing that the entire nation will be watching their every move for the next couple of weeks. We hope and pray that they do their best to justify their purpose and come up with a shortlist where every Filipino ultimately wins.*