The ongoing vetting process by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), to fill up a vacancy in the Supreme Court when Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes retires compulsorily this 6 July, 2017, touches on a wide spectrum of topics and issues being asked of the prospective candidates.
Among these topics is the tension that seems to simmer between House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on a number of issues having to do with the judicial processes.
Alvarez recently spewed unflattering words at three justices of the Court of Appeals who ruled that six members of the staff of office of Ilocos Governor Imee Marcos, detained by the House of Representatives in connection with a legislative inquiry, should be released. He said he does not intend to respect the appellate court’s ruling, adding the matter was beyond the jurisdiction of the judiciary.
Speaker Alvarez also came out with a pronouncement that the Court of Appeals should be abolished altogether in a reorganization of the judicial branch, on grounds that it constitutes an unnecessary additional layer in the judicial process.
One of the prospective candidates, Court Administrator Midas Marquez, said he was not in favor of Alvarez’s proposal to reorganize the judicial branch: “The Constitution provides that no law shall be passed reorganizing the judiciary. And whenever the Court is reorganized, the security of tenure of the justices shall be observed.”
On the matter of the validity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes said, “It is not clearly stated in the Constitution. It only touches on the revocation of the order … It is not clear in the Constitution whether they [members of Congress] have to convene to determine if it is rightful.