THE Judicial and Bar Council will ensure that the next chief justice will be eligible and will meet all constitutional and documentary requirements before being shortlisted for the most coveted post in the judiciary, an official said Sunday.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, an ex-officio member of the JBC, said the seven-member council would have to make sure that the nominees to be shortlisted for top judicial post left vacant by the removal of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno were not only qualified and eligible but also honest to prevent a repeat of the Sereno ouster through quo warranto proceedings.
Guevarra said the JBC members would be more circumspect in vetting the aspirants to the post, and would make sure the nominees met all constitutional and documentary requirements, particularly the requirement on the submission of statements of assets, liabilities and net worth that had cost Sereno’s removal through a quo warranto petition by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
“There is no new substantial requirement but there will be a more careful screening this time,” Guevarra said.
He said all nominees and applicants would undergo scrutiny by the seven-member council tasked to vet the nominees for judicial posts, particularly on their proven integrity.
“Surely, the Sereno quo warranto case has taught us many lessons from which we in the JBC can draw guidance in future deliberations not only for the chief justice position but also for all judicial positions that require utmost honesty and impeccable integrity,” he said
Sereno was ousted from the top judicial post after the Supreme Court ruled with finality in June to invalidate her appointment in 2012 and grant the quo warranto petition by Calida.
The high court ruled that she was disqualified from the post due to her failure to submit all required SALNs when she was teaching law at the University d the Phillies and during her application for the post, effectively reversing the finding of the JBC when it shortlisted her for the post.