The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines -- The Supreme Court has temporarily allowed the House of Representatives and Senate to have one representative each in the Judicial and Bar Council selection process for the next Chief Justice.
The high court, in a resolution, suspended the “immediately executory” portion of its July 17 decision ordering the JBC to reconstitute itself and choose only one representative for Congress.
This means that Senator Francis Escudero and Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. can vote separately for the nominees for Chief Justice.
The ruling was made on a petition filed by former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez, who questioned the JBC composition citing Section 8 (1) of Article VIII of the Constitution, which states that the legislature will be represented in the JBC by "a member of Congress."
“The Court finds it more equitable for the present members of the JBC to resume their task of selecting nominees for the vacant position of the Chief Justice. Accordingly, pending the final resolution of this petition, Senator Escudero and Congressman Tupas Jr., in their capacities as representatives of Congress, may simultaneously sit as ex officio members of the JBC and exercise the functions flowing therefrom,” the SC said.
At the same time it ordered both Congress and Chavez to submit their respective memoranda within 10 days of receiving the resolution.
Informed of the ruling, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said, “We will participate in the voting, as far as the House of Representatives is concerned.”
“That is a most welcome development, of course. It is also in keeping with the reality that there are two separate and independent from each other houses of Congress,” Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said.
Asked if the congressional representatives would now participate in the voting, he replied: “There is no reason not to participate in the meantime.”
For his part, Tupas said "there is no more reason to delay the selection and nomination of the new Chief Justice. With this decision, the House will now participate and vote in the JBC proceedings."