The Judicial and Bar Council has endorsed to President Rodrigo Duterte the nominations of three aspirants for the presiding justice of the Court of Appeals, which was left vacant by the appointment of Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr. to the Supreme Court last July 12.
The seven-man JBC, concurrently chaired by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, shortlisted CA Acting Presiding Justice Remedios Salazar-Fernando, CA Associate Justices Romeo Barza and Marlene Gonzales-Sison.
Fernando, who served as commissioner of Commission on Elections before her appointment to the appellate court, got seven votes from the JBC members; Barza with five votes and Sison, four.
Barza is one of the founding members of the Carpio Villaraza Cruz law office before being appointed as Makati City judge and subsequently as CA associate justice.
Besides Sereno, the seven-man council, which is constitutionally mandated to screen and vet nominees to the President for vacant posts in the judiciary and the Offices of the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman, is also composed by ex-officio members, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, along with Senator Richard Gordon and Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali, who shall have a term sharing seat in the JBC.
The regular JBC members are Retired SC Justice Jose Catral Mendoza representing the retired SC justice sector, Lawyer Jose Mejia representing the Academe, and Milagros Fernan-Cayosa representing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the newest member Ret. Judge Toribio Ilao, representing the private sector as the other regular members of the JBC. The position of the retired SC Justice as the regular member of the Council is still vacant at the moment.
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