Judicial and Bar Council

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Seal of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC)

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC; Filipino: Sangguniang Panghukuman at Pang-abogasya) of the Philippines is a constitutionally-created body that recommends appointees for vacancies that may arise in the composition of the Supreme Court, other lower courts, and the Legal Education Board, and in the offices of the Ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman and the Special Prosecutor.

History

The Supreme Court and other lower courts in the Philippines were established upon the basis of Act No .136 of 1901 of the Philippine Commission. This succeeded the Real Audiencas and lower courts during the Spanish era. At this time, the Supreme Court was appointed by the Philippine Commission. With the approval of the Jones Law in 1916, the justices of the Supreme Court were appointed by the President of the United States, with advice and consent of the United States Senate. Judges of lower courts were then appointed by the Governor-General.

Upon the ratification of the 1935 constitution, all justices and judges are appointed by the President of the Philippines with consent of the 21-member Commission on Appointments of the National Assembly of the Philippines. Upon the reestablishment of bicameralism, the Commission on Appointments then had equal number of members (12) from the House of Representatives and Senate. This became the setup until the approval of the 1973 constitution, where the president had the sole power of appointment, with no check and balance from the Batasang Pambansa. With the approval of the 1987 constitution, the Judicial and Bar Council was created to provide a shortlist of nominees on which the president can appoint from.

Composition

The Council is composed of a representative of the Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a retired member of the Supreme Court, and a representative of the private sector. They are the "regular" members, as opposed to the Secretary of Justice and a representative of Congress who are the ex officio members. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is the ex officio chairman,[1] while the Clerk of the Supreme Court shall serve as the ex officio secretary.[2]

The regular members would be nominated by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of four years. However, since the terms will be staggered, the first set of members would a different lengths of service: the representative of the Integrated Bar shall serve for four years, the professor of law for three years, the retired Justice for two years, and the representative of the private sector for one year.[3] The succeeding members shall then be given the full four-year term.

The Chief Justice is appointed by the president from the shortlist submitted by the JBC. The Secretary of Justice, as a member of the Cabinet, is appointed by the president with advice and consent of the Commission on Appointments. The member of Congress is elected by the chamber where the member came from.

The regular members were allowed to be reappointed without limit. The Secretary of Justice serves at the pleasure of the president, while the representative of Congress serves until they are recalled by their chamber, or until the term of Congress that named them expires. Finally, the Chief Justice serves until mandatory retirement at the age of 70. The regular members' terms start at July 9.

In 2012, a petition at the Supreme Court questioned on who should occupy the seat allocated for Congress. By then, there are two members of Congress in the council, with both having voting rights: the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Justice and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.[4] The Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that there should only be one member of the JBC from Congress; the court left to Congress whom among the two would be its representative to the JBC.[5]

The council is the only government body that has members from all three branches of the government, excluding ad hoc and advisory bodies.

Current membership

The members of the Judicial and Bar Council are:

Member Term started Term scheduled to end Representing Type Appointed by
1 Alexander Gesmundo April 5, 2021 November 6, 2026 Chief Justice Ex officio chairman Rodrigo Duterte
2 Menardo Guevarra April 5, 2018 Serves at president's pleasure Secretary of Justice Ex officio member Rodrigo Duterte
3 Richard J. Gordon* July 24, 2019 June 30, 2022 Congress Senate Ex officio member 18th Congress
Vicente Veloso* August 6, 2019 House of Representatives
4 Franklin Demonteverde August 2, 2019 July 9, 2023 Integrated Bar Regular member Rodrigo Duterte
5 Noel Tijam March 6, 2019 July 9, 2022 The academe Regular member Rodrigo Duterte
6 Jose C. Mendoza October 4, 2017 July 9, 2021 Retired justice of the Supreme Court Regular member Rodrigo Duterte
7 Toribio Ilao Jr. October 26, 2016 July 9, 2024 The private sector Regular member Rodrigo Duterte
  • Ex officio secretary: Atty. Marife M. Lomibao- Cuevas, as Clerk of the Supreme Court en banc, since March 26, 2021

*Under the current arrangement, the congressman sits from January to June, while the senator sits from July to December. Only one representative is to sit at any time.

As a matter of tradition, the two (2) senior associate justices of the Supreme Court also take part in the JBC deliberations.

Function

Entrance to the JBC offices

The function of the Council is to recommend to the representatives of possible appointees to the Judiciary.[6]

The president shall choose from among those nominated, before the president may ask the Council to nominate somebody else and add it to the list, but this is not allowed anymore. In 2009, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo asked the council to add more nominees on two Supreme Court vacancies. The council rejected the request.[7] Arroyo then appointed someone from the list.[8]

The person then chosen by the president then becomes a member of the Judiciary, and is not anymore reviewed by the Commission on Appointments. This is to prevent politicking and horse-trading among political parties.

Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban said that the Council's principal objective is to attract the best and brightest to the judiciary and to make them remain there.

Offices shortlisted

Members

The JBC members in the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Panel Interview

The members of the JBC were:[9]

Chief Justice

See also: Chief Justice of the Philippines

The Chief Justice became a member starting on December 10, 1987.

Secretaries of Justice

See also: Secretary of Justice

The Secretary of Justice became a member starting on December 10, 1987.

Representative from Congress

Congress is a bicameral legislature. The representative from Congress is either Chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, or the House Committee on Justice.

One representative

Since the creation of the JBC in 1987 until 1994, the representation for Congress in the body alternated between the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Member Chamber Start of term End of term Congress
Rogaciano Mercado House of Representatives 10 December 1987 23 February 1989 8th
Wigberto Tañada Senate 2 March 1988 21 May 1990
Isidro Zarraga House of Representatives 31 July 1989 12 August 1992
9th
Pablo P. Garcia 26 August 1992 30 September 1992

Two representatives, half a vote each

By 1993, the two representatives from Congress began sitting simultaneously, each having one-half of a vote.

Congressman Senator Congress
Member Start of term End of term Member Start of term End of term
Pablo P. Garcia 30 September 1992 8 March 1995 Raul Roco 30 September 1992 3 March 1993 9th
Alberto Romulo 14 April 1993 1 August 1995
Isidro Zarraga 28 June 1995 30 June 1998
Marcelo Fernan 2 August 1995 31 December 1996 10th
Raul Roco 1 January 1997 30 July 1998
Alfredo Abueg 31 July 1998 29 November 2000 Rene Cayetano 31 July 1998 31 January 2000 11th
Aquilino Pimentel Jr. 1 February 2000 29 November 2000
Henry Lanot 14 December 2000 30 May 2001 Miriam Defensor Santiago 10 January 2001 14 February 2001
Rene Cayetano 16 May 2001 30 May 2001

Two representatives, one vote each

On May 30, 2001, the JBC En Banc decided to grant the representatives from both Houses of Congress one full vote each.

Congressman Senator Congress
Member Start of term End of term Member Start of term End of term
Henry Lanot 30 May 2001 30 June 2001 Rene Cayetano 30 May 2001 28 August 2001 11th
Alan Peter Cayetano 8 August 2001 3 March 2003 12th
Francis Pangilinan 29 August 2001 23 November 2008
Marcelino Libanan 4 March 2003 8 August 2003
Simeon Datumanong 9 August 2004 30 June 2007 13th
Matias Defensor Jr. 8 August 2007 30 June 2010 14th
Francis Escudero 24 November 2008 30 June 2013
Niel Tupas Jr. 29 July 2010 30 June 2013 15th

One representative

In 2013, the eight-member composition of the JBC was questioned at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court restored the composition of the JBC to seven. It was arranged that the representative of the House of Representatives sits from January to June, while the representative of the Senate sits from July to December.[10]

Member Chamber Start of term End of term Congress
Aquilino Pimentel III Senate 23 July 2013 31 December 2013 16th
Niel Tupas Jr. House of Representatives 1 January 2014 30 June 2014
Aquilino Pimentel III Senate 1 July 2014 31 December 2014
Niel Tupas Jr. House of Representatives 1 January 2015 30 June 2015
Aquilino Pimentel III Senate 1 July 2015 31 December 2015
Niel Tupas Jr. House of Representatives 1 January 2016 30 June 2016
Leila de Lima Senate 26 July 2016 19 September 2016 17th
Richard J. Gordon 29 September 2016 31 December 2016
Reynaldo Umali House of Representatives 1 January 2017 30 June 2017
Richard J. Gordon Senate 1 July 2017 31 December 2017
Reynaldo Umali House of Representatives 1 January 2018 30 June 2018
Richard J. Gordon Senate 1 July 2018 31 December 2018
Vicente Veloso III House of Representatives 1 January 2019 30 June 2019
Richard J. Gordon Senate 22 July 2019 31 December 2019 18th
Vicente Veloso III House of Representatives 1 January 2020 30 June 2020
Richard J. Gordon Senate 1 July 2020 31 December 2020
Vicente Veloso III House of Representatives 1 January 2021 incumbent (ends 30 June 2021)

Retired member of the Supreme Court

Member Start of term End of term Appointed by
Nestor Alampay 10 December 1987 10 December 1989 Corazon Aquino
Lorenzo Relova 8 January 1990 9 July 1993 Corazon Aquino
Jose Campos Jr. 22 September 1993 9 July 1997 Fidel V. Ramos
Regino C. Hermosisima Jr. 24 November 1997 9 July 2013 Fidel V. Ramos
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez 8 October 2014 9 July 2017 Benigno Aquino III
Jose C. Mendoza 4 October 2017 incumbent (ends 9 July 2021) Rodrigo Duterte

Representative from the academe

Member Start of term End of term Appointed by
Rodolfo Palma 10 December 1987 9 July 1994 Corazon Aquino
Cezar Peralejo 8 February 1995 9 July 1998 Fidel V. Ramos
Alfredo Marigomen 21 July 1998 9 July 2002 Joseph Estrada
Amado Dimayuga 9 July 2003 9 July 2010 Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Jose Mejia 28 April 2011 9 July 2018 Benigno Aquino III
Noel Tijam 6 March 2019 incumbent (ends 9 July 2022) Rodrigo Duterte

Representative from the Integrated Bar

Member Start of term End of term Appointed by
Leon Garcia Jr. 17 June 1988 9 July 1991 Corazon Aquino
Presbitero Velasco Jr. 7 January 1993 22 March 1995 Fidel V. Ramos
Francisco Santiago 1 August 1995 8 July 1996 Fidel V. Ramos
Amado Dimayuga 8 July 1997 9 July 2003 Fidel V. Ramos
Conrado Castro 9 July 2003 17 March 2011 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Maria Milagros Fernan-Cayosa 2 May 2011 9 July 2019 Benigno Aquino III
Franklin Demonteverde 2 August 2019 incumbent (ends 9 July 2023) Rodrigo Duterte

Representative from the private sector

Member Start of term End of term Appointed by
Ofelia Santos 10 December 1987 9 July 1992 Corazon Aquino
Teresita Cruz Sison 30 September 1992 9 July 2004 Fidel V. Ramos
Joseph Estrada
Raoul Victorino 12 July 2005 9 July 2008 Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Aurora Santiago Lagman 13 October 2008 9 July 2016 Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Benigno Aquino III
Toribio Ilao Jr. 24 October 2016 incumbent (ends 9 July 2024) Rodrigo Duterte

Notes

  1. 1987 Constitution, Article VIII, Section 8, Paragraph 1
  2. 1987 Constitution, Article VIII, Section 8, Paragraph 3
  3. 1987 Constitution, Article VIII, Section 8, Paragraph 2
  4. "SC asks JBC to comment on Chavez petition", GMANews.tv, 2012-07-03. 
  5. Punay, Edu. "Only one member from Congress in JBC, SC affirms", Philippine Star, 2012-07-03. 
  6. 1987 Constitution, Article VIII, Section 8, Paragraph 5
  7. Sy, Marvin (2009-08-04). JBC rejects Palace demand for more nominees to Supreme Court.
  8. Sy, Marvin. Malacañang bows to JBC, will review Supreme Court shortlist.
  9. JBC CHAIRPERSONS, EX OFFICIO AND REGULAR MEMBERS, EX OFFICIO SECRETARIES AND CONSULTANTS. Supreme Court of the Philippines.
  10. Torres-Tupas, Tetch. "SC to JBC: Answer petition on seat for solons at meetings", INQUIRER.net, 2017-01-17. 

See also

References

External links