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JBC row may justify SC justices’ ouster


LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… maintain justice in the courts…” (Amos 5:15, the Holy Bible).

VINDICATION ON JBC MEMBERSHIP: I thank God, in the name of Jesus, that former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez is filing a petition to question the constitutionality of a Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) which includes two representatives from Congress---one from the House of Representatives and one from the Senate---considering the provision of the 1987 Constitution which says only “a representative from Congress” must sit at the JBC.
This is a question that I first raised in this very column about a year or two ago, on account of an interview I had with former Associate Justice Leonardo Quisumbing, long before Chavez and other legal luminaries started talking about it. Modesty aside, I now feel that what is happening is a vindication from God, that something that I wrote about here is to be resolved with finality by the high tribunal.

Come to think of it, however, this JBC controversy may yet provide President Aquino a compelling excuse and irresistible justification to ask all the sitting justices of the Supreme Court, who were appointed under an illegal JBC with two representatives from Congress, to resign en masse, on the ground that their appointments did not follow the Constitution, were unconstitutional, and thus are not at all valid.

JBC ROW MAY JUSTIFY PNOY SEEKING RESIGNATION OF SC JUSTICES: Why am I saying this? Simple. The 1987 Constitution provides: “A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of the Supreme Court composed of the Chief Justice… the Secretary of Justice, and a representative of the Congress… a representative of the Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a retired member of the Supreme Court and a representative of the private sector.”

This provision can be found under Section 8 (1), Art. VIII of the Charter, and the part which is important here is the phrase “and a representative of the Congress”. Surely, this means that only one representative from Congress is to sit at the JBC, no more, no less. Any deviation from this Constitutional provision, as what is happening now, would render the JBC composition violative of the Constitution.

With a composition that violates the Constitution, anything that the JBC did, is doing, or will do, would be unconstitutional. And since everything that an illegal and unconstitutional JBC had done, is doing, or will do, would be violative of the Constitution, any and all of the recommendations or nominations it earlier submitted to the President, while two congressional representatives were sitting as its members, would likewise be null and void.

ALL APPOINTMENTS TO THE JUDICIARY WITH AN ILLEGAL JBC ARE NULL AND VOID: When did this “phenomenon” start to happen---I mean, when did the JBC start having two representatives of Congress sitting together? Reports are saying it started in 2001, when Hilario Davide was the Chief Justice.

Quite clearly, therefore, all appointments to the Supreme Court, and even in the entire judicial branch of government, which passed through the screening of the illegally-constituted JBC, from 2001 up to now, are all null and void.

With a null and void appointment, the only honorable way for all Supreme Court justices and other members of the judicial branch affected by this Constitutional infirmity is to resign and give up their positions. That would be upholding the rule of law, first and foremost, which is something that all of them swore to, anyway.

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by Atty. Batas Mauricio

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