By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
MANILA – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will tighten its rules in vetting candidates for posts in the judiciary after the Supreme Court affirmed the ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Mindoro Oriental Representative Reynaldo Umali, chair of House Justice Committee, said the JBC will closely scrutinize candidates for the three vacant posts in the Supreme Court, especially that for the Chief Justice.
“Ngayon siguradong maghihigpit na, and in fact as early as now, [may mga] nagpo-point out na agad na certain matters that will probably cause disqualification [for various positions in the judiciary],” he said Tuesday (June 19).
The lawmaker said that members of the JBC “will be stricter this time” about the applicants’ Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) since it was clear to the decision made by the Supreme Court en banc that “is not only a simple requirement” but rather a constitutional duty.
“Dapat lang maging strikto tayo doon especially for the positions in the Supreme Court and the judiciary in particular because they will be there until age 70,” said Umali.
Voting 8-6, the Supreme Court upheld its decision to oust Sereno over her failure to submit all of her SALNs when she applied for Chief Justice in 2012.
Aside from the position of Chief Justice, another two seats in the Supreme Court will be vacated later this year due to the impending retirement of Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro and Presbitero Velasco Jr.
Umali also mentioned that the JBC is also set to interview applicants for the next Ombudsman on Wednesday since Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales is set to end her term in July.