See - Sereno, JBC overruled - The Manila Times Online
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THE Supreme Court en banc has overruled Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on the issue of appointments to the judiciary, declaring that the President has the prerogative to appoint any nominee from shortlists submitted by the JBC.
During deliberations on Tuesday, the high tribunal voted unanimously to declare the JBC’s “clustering” scheme unconstitutional and illegal, in a landmark decision that sets the precedent for future vacancies in the Supreme Court and the rest of the judiciary. Two Supreme Court posts will become vacant this month with the retirement of Associate Justices Arturo Brion and Jose Perez.
The dispute arose in January after then president Benigno Aquino 3rd appointed six new justices to the expanded Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.
Under the clustering scheme introduced by Sereno to the JBC, which screens applicants and recommends nominees to posts in the judiciary, six shortlists containing different sets of names were submitted to Aquino, to choose the 16th to 21st Sandiganbayan associate justices.
Aquino, however, ignored the first shortlist containing nominees for the 16th post, and instead chose two names from the sixth list for the 21st post.
In May, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and several lower court judges questioned the appointments of Geraldine Faith Econg and Michael Frederick Musngi, claiming Aquino violated the Constitution when he picked the two from the sixth short list and dropped the first one.
The high tribunal junked the petitions and validated the appointments made by Aquino.
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