MANILA, Philippines, November 23, 2009
(STAR) By Edu Punay – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is meeting today to screen applicants for the two Supreme Court (SC) posts left vacant by the retirement of Senior Associate Justice Leonardo Quisumbing last Nov. 6, and Associate Justice Minita Chico–Nazario effective Dec. 5.

The JBC is a constitutional body that receives and screens nominations for judicial posts, as well as nominations for ombudsman and deputy ombudsman.

Leading nominees to the position are Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera and Sandiganbayan Justice Alexander Gesmundo.

Other nominees to the position are Makati Rep. Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr., Court of Appeals Justice Magdangal de Leon, CA Justices Rosmari Carandang and Jose Mendoza, CA court administrator Jose Perez, lawyer –businessman Rodolfo Robles, and Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland Manuel Teehankee.

President Arroyo has 90 days from effectivity of the resignation to appoint replacements for Quisumbing and Nazario.

JBC’s regular members are retired SC justice Regino Hermosisima, Dean Amado Dimayuga Jr., lawyer J. Conrado Castro, and retired Court of Appeals justice Aurora Lagman.

Its ex-officio members are Justice Secretary Devanadera, who is expected to skip the meeting because of her application; Sen. Francis Escudero; and Quezon City Rep. Matias Defensor.

SC spokesperson lawyer Jose Midas Marquez said eight out of 11 SC justices present during a full court session last Tuesday endorsed the applications of Devanadera and Gesmudo.

Devanadera had applied five times for an SC position before her application was finally endorsed. She applied for the vacancies left by Associate Justice Ruben Reyes, Adolfo Azcuna, Dante Tinga, Ma. Alicia Austria– Martinez, and Consuelo Ynares–Santiago.

Marquez said, however, that the endorsement for Devanadera is conditional because of a pending case against her at the Office of the Ombudsman.

Gesmundo, on the other hand, is a first-time applicant.

In his interview with the JBC on Nov. 5, the former commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) was questioned on the issue of delays in the disposition of cases involving the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos clan.

He explained that the delay was caused by several factors such as the number of lawyers involved, the validity of evidence, and unavailability of the original documents supporting the ill-gotten properties confiscated by US authorities when the Marcoses fled to Hawaii after the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

Ateneo dean pushes for Teehankee

In a statement, Ateneo University School of Government dean Dr. Anthony La Viña, supported the nomination of the son of the late Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee.

“Ambassador (Manuel) Teehankee is very qualified to become a justice of the Supreme Court. He is exceptionally intelligent, experienced in Philippine and international law, and someone who has a good and wise heart,” La Viña said in a statement.

La Viña said Teehankee has lived up to his father’s legacy by also topping the Bar exams and pursuing a career “untainted by corruption and with unbending honor and dedication to rule of law.”

An environmentalist, La Viña said the younger Teehankee can contribute to the fight against climate change and other environmental challenges.

La Viña was appointed undersecretary for legal and legislative affairs of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from 1996 to 1998.

Teehankee earlier applied for seat left vacant by the retirement of Associate Justice Ynares–Santiago last Oct. 5.

President Arroyo appointed Court of Appeals Justice Martin Villarama Jr. from the shortlist submitted by the JBC.


(STAR) Chairwoman Leila de Lima of the Commission on Human Rights has lauded the signing into law of Republic Act 9775, the Anti-Child Pornography Law as a means of closing the legal loopholes in protecting the rights of children.

In a statement, De Lima said recent developments in technology have made it easier for predators to victimize children.

“Finally, we have a law which offers our children the additional protection that they require,” she said.

De Lima said the Anti-Child Pornography Law is mandated under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and Optional Protocol to the UNCRC on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

“And since it has teeth, it has the potential to more effectively deter any would-be child predators, depending on how well it is implemented,” she said.

De Lima said the CHR serves as a conduit between the government and non-government organizations, as well as between domestic and international bodies and institutions.

“We are, therefore, pleased to note that the enacted law provides for mandatory services such as shelter, counseling, free legal, medical and psychological services, as well as educational assistance,” she said.

“We stand ready to participate in any effort to more effectively implement the Anti-Child Pornography Law, to harmonize existing laws relating to the welfare of children.” – Katherine Adraneda

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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