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2 CA justices, 1 private lawyer faces JBC
« on: November 20, 2016, 05:04:11 AM »
2 CA justices, 1 private lawyer faces JBC on second day of interview for SC justice posts

MANILA, Nov. 17 (PNA) -- Two Court of Appeals justices and a law professor on Thursday finished the two-day public interview made by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) for two Supreme Court justice posts soon to be vacated by Associate Justices Jose Perez and Arturo Brion upon their retirement in December.

Justices Perez and Brion are set to retire after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 on December 14 and 29, respectively.

During the interview, Court of Appeals Justice Romulo Borja assured to provide financial security for all Justices to enable them to focus on their work without worrying about financial concerns. If selected as SC Justice, Borja, 68, will only have about 22 months to serve before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

On the matter of drug cases which have been distributed by SC in lower courts instead of designated drug courts, Borja said the courts should allow plea bargaining and focus on rehabilitation.

”In many countries, they allow plea bargaining that may resolve case we don’t allowed plea bargaining in drug cases right now secondly when it comes information there should be liberality allowing rehabilitation put in the DoH the problem is not legal but the problem is medical if we can remove that it can reduce the dockets,” Borja explained.

Borja, a law of graduate of Xavier University, placed 19th in the 1984 bar exams.

Section 23 of Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act prohibits plea bargaining in such cases.

The second interviewee was Amy C. Lazaro-Javier, also CA Justice, who turned 60 on Wednesday, November 17.

Javier graduated magna cum laude from the Philippine Normal University with a degree in education. She took up Law at the University of Sto. Tomas and passed the bar in 1992.

Before being appointed as CA Justice in 2007, she worked in the Office of the Solicitor General in 1983 as trial attorney, and later became Assistant Solicitor General in 1994.

During the interview, Javier was asked for her opinion particularly the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and the spate of extra-judicial killings (EJKs) of drug suspects in the country.

Javier opposed the SC ruling personally, saying she believes the highest conviction against the former dictator was done through the 1986 EDSA People Power uprising which ousted him from power after 21 years as president.

“I do not agree with the majority opinion. I think the conviction made by the people themselves is the highest court and not even the SC can trivialize that conviction,” Javier said.

"It lasts forever and ever, even beyond life. He was convicted by the People Power-the highest form of conviction and no higher conviction can wash it off," she added.

On the issue of EJKs, Javier said that is just an academic discussion, noting that there is a need to identify which deaths are justified, whether there was aggression or dangers posed on lives of the arresting officers.

She also said the killings are “not yet” crimes that constitute genocide because they are “not as widespread and as systematic.”

The last candidate for the interview, Atty. Joseph San Pedro also disagreed with the majority ruling on the SC on Marcos burial.

He said setting aside the dissenting opinion, including the jurisprudences they cited, the “primary issue is the historical underpinning of the 1987 Constitution.

”I understand there is MR setting aside I understand there is still MR, but setting that aside, I think the dissenting opinions—there were citations of certain laws but I think the primary issue there is the historical underpinning of our 1987 constitution,” he explained.

“We came from an ouster of a dictator and to allow the dictator to be buried there is a dishonor to the people who sacrificed to have our democracy right now,” the 50-year old lawyer said.

On Wednesday, JBC already interviewed PAO Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta, Atty. Rita Linda Ventura-Jimeno, Davao RTC Judge Rowena Apao-Adlawan, CA Justices Japar Dimaampao, Noel Tijam, Sandiganbayan Justice Samuel Martires and Department of Justice (DOJ) chief state counsel Ricardo Paras III.

A total of 10 aspirants were interviewed by the JBC executive committee chairperson Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez with members Toribio Ilao Jr., Maria Milagros Fernan-Cayosa and Jose Mejia in a two-day public interview.

Meanwhile, the seven other candidates for both vacancies would no longer be interviewed because of their previous interviews over the past year.

They are CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. and CA Justices Apolinario Bruselas Jr., Rosmari Carandang, Stephen Cruz and Jose Reyes Jr., Quezon City Judge Reynaldo Daway and Sandiganbayan Justice Alex Quiroz.

A shortlist of candidates will be submitted by the JBC to President Rodrigo Duterte, who will appoint the new SC magistrates. Under his term, President Duterte will get to appoint 10 SC magistrates to replace retiring justices in the next three years. (PNA)

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