Tue. Jun 22nd, 2021

MANILA – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will set up online interviews to process applicants for the shortlist of nominees to the impending vacancy in the Supreme Court (SC) due to the mandatory retirement of Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr. on May 11.

In a statement Tuesday, retired SC associate justice Jose C. Mendoza, JBC Executive Committee Chair and regular member, said the body opened the impending vacancy from Reyes’ retirement early and had originally set the deadline for filing of applications for the vacancy on March 3.

The JBC was supposed to interview aspirants on March 18 and 19 and then voting by the JBC would be undertaken but were preempted by the enhanced community quarantine due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, he said.

“As the lockdown has been extended, the members have agreed to online interviews. This will be set up soon. We have also resorted to teleconferencing for discussion through a platform made available to us by the SC,” Mendoza said.

Most of the applicants to the post are Court of Appeals justices — Manuel Barrios, Ramon Cruz, Nina Antonio-Valenzuela, Ricardo Rosario, Japar Dimaampao, Ramon Bato, Jhosep Lopez, Eduardo Peralta, Edwin Sorongon, Pablito Perez and Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla.

Also vying anew for the post are Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez.

Under the Constitution, the President has 90 days to fill the vacancy for a magistrate of the high court.

“We are hopeful that we can start conducting the interviews soonest so that we can send the list of nominees to the OP (Office of the President) as early as possible. This will give the Office of the President sufficient time to vet the candidates and appoint one,” Mendoza said. (ia/PNA)

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