MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court has ordered the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), the body that vets nominees for the post of chief justice to the President, to file a comment on a petition questioning its composition before July 9.
Former Solicitor-General Frank Chavez asked the SC on July 1 to declare as invalid the current 8-member composition of the JBC, saying the 1987 Constitution specifies there should only be 7 members, with only one representative from Congress.
The JBC currently has two representatives from Congress -- Iloilo Rep Niel Tupas and Sen Francis Escudero.
The body now, however, only has 6 members after Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima inhibited from the deliberations because they both accepted their respective nominations for the highest post in the judiciary.
The other members of the JBC are retired SC Justice Regino Hermosisima, retired CA Justice Aurora Lagman, La Salle Law Professor Jose Mejia and Integrated Bar of the Philippines Officer Milagros Fernan Cayosa.
Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Arturo Brion and Presbitero Velasco have inhibited from the case filed by Chavez because they have officially joined the race for the chief justice post.
Chavez himself was nominated for the post but he declined. - Rappler.com
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