PROBING THE NEXT CHIEF JUSTICE

PROBING THE NEXT CHIEF JUSTICE


-RJ Barrete
MANILA, Philippines – The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Renato Corona has been removed through the impeachment process with a guilty verdict with some factual evidence rendered within the 5-month telenovela being anticipated by the public.

Last Monday, July 16, 2012, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines conducted its first ever public forum in search for the next Chief Justice and defining the best candidate for the post through the different perspectives or views from law experts and the academe. The said event wants to promote transparency and accountability to articulate the pressing issue and not to promote specific candidate but to broaden public discussion, said Atty. Roan Libarios, IBP National President.

Under the Rules of the Judicial and Bar Council – 009, under provision (c) Rule 2 (Constitutional and Statutory Qualifications); a member of the judiciary must be of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence and a member of the Philippine Bar. These are the four criteria set by the JBC; however this set of criteria imposes the question on how to assess such qualifications as they are subjective in manner. Therefore, the JBC must lay down a clearer standard over choosing the members of the Judiciary.

Relevantly, being the highest official in power in the judiciary, it requires cost-effective legal service, emphasized judicial independence, upholds the public interest and shall never be oblivious on the clamor for judicial reforms and sense of moral ascendancy.

Former Supreme Court Justice Maria Alicia Austria-Martinez believed that it will take time before an outsider gets to understand and appreciate the judiciary well. She further stressed that an ideal Chief Justice must have a dedicated sense of urgency, independence, and has preferential option for the poor.

We all are in the new era of accountability and transparency in governance and commitment in securing and gaining back the faith and trust of the people. After the recently concluded Corona impeachment, it might have been a starting point for the government to curb corruption with utmost dedication. However, it does not totally promise a full reform in terms of attaining good governance for the country. The public must continue its vigilance on matters that concern the public interest and also the government’s continuous effort in promoting transparency.

The JBC’s initiative to set the event with media coverage and open for public questioning imposes the potential change for the judiciary as public engagement has been part of this judicial process.

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