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4 SC justice aspirants finish JBC interview
« on: November 20, 2016, 05:16:53 AM »
4 SC justice aspirants finish JBC interview

MANILA, Nov. 16 (PNA) -- Four aspirants vying for Supreme Court justice posts already finished their interview by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Wednesday morning.

The two-day public interview is for the replacement of Associate Justices Jose Perez and Arturo Brion, who will retire on Dec. 14 and 29, respectively.

JBC executive committee chairperson Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez with members Toribio Ilao Jr., Maria Milagros Fernan-Cayosa and Jose Mejia

First on the list of interviewees was lawyer Persida Rueda-Acosta, Chief of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) who said that she will deactivate from social media and stop from writing a newspaper column to focus on doing legal research once she is selected to be an SC justice.

”Mag-iiba na dahil ang buhay ng mahistrado tapusin mo lahat ng pending mo babalik ako bilang isang legal researcher mag draft ng decision yan ang natutunan bilang legal researcher at branch of clerk of court,” she answered during the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) public interview.

”Aking kayamanan ang aking kredibilidad at karanasan bilang taga pamahala ng national agency na isang stake holder sa justice system for 16 years,” she added.

Acosta's specializations include civil law, legal aid, human rights and social development. In 2015, the multi-awarded lawyer completed her Doctorate in Social Development at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Acosta, who was nominated by Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, said she has proven this through her service as PAO Chief.

"I have shown my independence in my opinions and my handling of cases. My basis is always the rule of law. Whoever recommended me to apply to the SC, that is their opinion and it will not be a reason for me to be biased in the future," Acosta said.

Acosta was asked about her taking the Bar examination twice and said her idol is Claro M. Recto, a noted statesman and an Associate Justice of the SC who took the Bar examination twice.

She failed on her first try but landed fourth on her second try during the 1989 Bar examination.

“Claro M. Recto is my inspiration of people like me who experienced difficulties in life. If he is a man, I am a woman with the heart of a man who is courageous and will persevere regardless of the obstacles,” Acosta, who graduated of the University of the East (UE) Law.

When asked by Gutierrez regarding previous SC rulings allowing the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos in Libingan ng mga Bayani, Acosta admitted that she had read only the news about the decision.

Gutierrez told Acosta that she should have reading first of its kind and landmark decision because she is applying for an SC justice position.

Gutierrez asked Acosta another question about her opinion on the Arroyo plunder case and the granting of bail to Enrile.

In response, Acosta admitted that she read about the High Court’s decision based on the newspapers. With this, Gutierrez advised her to read more just in case she is nominated and appointed to the post.

On the EJK issue, the PAO chief told the JBC that she is aware of such occurrence as she cited her handling of the case on the killing of motorcycle rider John dela Riarte by two Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group personnel last July.

Acosta said her credibility and public service record has ripened her for a post in the high court.

The second applicant on the interview list, lawyer Rita Linda Ventura-Jimeno, associate dean of Centro Escolar University's School of Law, has a bachelor's degree and law degree from the University of the Philippines.

Jimeno, who was recommended for the SC post by former President Fidel Ramos, also supported the plan of the Duterte administration to shift to a federal form of government.

Jimeno is also managing partner of Jimeno Cope & David Law Offices that specializes in family law and is an arbitrator, and an SC-accredited mediator.

She also worked as a member of technical working groups that crafted rules on whistle-blowing in the judiciary and rules of practice in environmental courts.

Jimeno, 64, said that if she gets appointed as associate justice, she would still have time to introduce changes in the SC.

If she will be given the chance to amend provisions in the Constitution in relation to the judiciary, she would propose the establishment of constitutional courts to diffuse the responsibilities of the SC.

Jimeno said the SC justices could focus on cases appealed before the High Court, while constitutional courts deal with constitutional issues.

Asked on her opinion on SC decision allowing Marcos burial, Jimeno said she respects the SC decision in compliance with the rule of law.

Jimeno also said she supports the shift to federalism, noting that it will help local governments develop themselves in order to improve lives of people in rural areas.

However, she said the country should not rush the shift to federalism without decentralizing first and passing crucial legislations such as the Freedom of Information law and an anti-dynasty law.

Jimeno also supported plans to amend provisions in the Constitution and suggested the establishment of constitutional courts to diffuse the responsibilities of the SC.

Meanwhile, the third aspirant is Davao Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 13 Judge Rowena Apao-Adlawan told the JBC that she support President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

However, Adlawan said that she has acquitted several accused drug suspects based on 'technical aspects'

Asked on her opinion on (EJKs in the country, Adlawan said that there is no EJK in the country and she does not believe the President had anything to do with the killings as he is for upholding the rule of law.

The fourth aspirant, Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Japar Dimaampao said if he gets the SC justice slot, he will bring his integrity with all humility and contribute in enriching jurisprudence on sharia, taxation, and commercial law, given his stint with academe.

Dimaampao said there has been no Muslim justice at SC for over 20 years that is why he accepted the nomination retired SC Justice Romeo Callejo and Gov. Mujiv Hataman.

"By God’s grace, if I would be appointed to the Court, I can help the Court with all humility in avoiding erroneous decisions on sharia which will eventually amount to injustices to Muslims in this country. I can be of help in preventing such possible influx of decisions which are not resolved in accordance with sharia and existing Islamic jurisprudence," he told the JBC.

Dimaampao obtained his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in 1982, and his Bachelor of Laws in 1987 at the University of the East.

Dimaampao, the first and only Muslim senior state prosecutor, bar reviewer, professor of law of the University of Santo Tomas, and member of the University of the Philippines Law Center, committee on Bar examinations in commercial law and taxation.

He served as Regional Trial Court judge and executive judge of Mandaluyong City before taking his oath of office as CA associate justice.

The Constitution requires an SC justice to be a natural-born citizen with a minimum age of 40, and with at least 15 years’ experience as a lower court judge or as a lawyer in the country.

After the interviews, the seven-member JBC led by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, will vote on the shortlist and prepare the list of nominees to be given to President Rodrigo Duterte, who will be making his appointment to the high court.

President Duterte is expected to appoint at least 10 justices in SC during his six-year term. There will be two more vacancies during the election period after his term. (PNA)

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