BINAY URGES JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL TO ASSERT INDEPENDENCE

PRESS RELEASE
JULY 30 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO
Binay: Mabini Lawyer

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today asked the Judicial and Bar Council (JCB) not to accede to Mrs. Arroyo’s request to include more names in the list of Supreme Court nominees.

“The JBC is an independent body that has already fulfilled its mandate. For Mrs. Arroyo to ask for more names is an affront to the JBC and an attempt by Mrs. Arroyo to assert her power over an independent body,” he said.

Binay said the JBC has gone through the process of reviewing and assessing the qualifications of potential nominees.

“Mrs. Arroyo cannot substitute her judgement over the judgement of a collegial, independent body like the JBC. The JBC should tell Mrs. Arroyo that the list is final,” he said.

Mrs. Arroyo had rejected the six nominees submitted by the JBC fill up the two seats in the Supreme Court left by the retirement of justices Dante Tinga and Alicia Austria-Martinez. Palace officials explained she wanted more names included in the list.

But Binay said Mrs. Arroyo intends to pack the Supreme Court with her political allies, now that the high tribunal is shaping up to be the final battleground for efforts to amend the Constitution. Mrs. Arroyo, whose term expires in 2010, is seen as the main beneficiary of moves in the House to amend the Charter.

“The present Malacanang occupant wants a friendly Supreme Court that will rule in favor of Cha-Cha, allowing her to stay in power beyond 2010, either through term extension or as prime minister under a parliamentary system of government,” he said.

“By rejecting the six nominees, Mrs. Arroyo is saying she cannot count on any of them to support her when the time comes to vote on Cha Cha,” Binay said

The JBC is a Constitutional body mandated by the 1987 Constitution to nominate candidates for appointments to the judiciary, including the Supreme Court. The President cannot appoint to the judiciary anyone not nominated by the JBC.

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