Palace: That’s JBC’s view
By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Saturday belittled the Judicial and Bar Council’s (JBC) scathing comment on the Supreme Court’s ruling authorizing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to appoint the next Chief Justice despite an election period ban on “midnight appointments.”
“That’s the view of the JBC,” Charito Planas, deputy presidential spokesperson, said over government-run dzRB radio. She was referring to the JBC comment criticizing the high tribunal for not dismissing petitions to rule immediately on the authority of Ms Arroyo to name the next Chief Justice after Chief Justice Reynato Puno retires on May 17, which falls within the election period.
The petitions were premature because the JBC had not yet decided whether or not to submit its list of nominees to Malacañang, the JBC said.
The high court had ruled that the judiciary was not covered by the constitutional ban on executive appointments during an election period. Its March 17 ruling also said that Ms Arroyo could even appoint Puno’s successor without a shortlist from the JBC “in an extreme case.”
Planas said the JBC probably issued its critical comment because the Supreme Court’s decision was not yet final and executory.
The high court, she noted, had yet to rule on the motions for reconsideration.
“The President will be guided by that decision, and so should we,” she said.
For now, Planas said, the public should refrain from speculating and await the final decision of the high tribunal to sustain or junk its earlier ruling.
“We have no choice but to wait,” she said. With a report from Rey M. Nasol, Inquirer Southern Luzon