JBC Celebrates 35th Anniversary, Enters into MOA with IBP
Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo delivers his message as Ex-Officio Chairperson of the Judicial and Bar Council during the celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the Council on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) marked the 35th anniversary of its creation under the 1987 Constitution on Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at the Philippine International Convention City in Pasay City.
The 35th Anniversary commemoration coincided with the signing of the 2022 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the JBC, represented by JBC Executive Committee Chairperson and retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza, and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), represented by its National President Atty. Burt M. Estrada, regarding the collaboration of the two parties “on the conduct of background investigation and nomination, that will serve as additional tools for the JBC to ascertain and ensure that applicants for nomination to the Judiciary, Office of the Ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman, and Special Prosecutor, and the offices of the Chairperson and Regular Members of the Legal Education Board possess the qualifications required by the Constitution and pertinent laws and rules.”
The MOA covers the undertaking of the IBP to conduct independent background investigations on applicants to judicial posts. The IBP also undertakes to issue resolutions for nomination through its local, regional, and national offices.
In his message, Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, Ex-Officio Chairperson of the JBC, traced the history and mandate of the Council, from its constitutionally entrenched functions to its composition.
Emphasizing that the people have placed their trust in the JBC by allowing an exemption from the traditional full appointing powers given to the President, the Chief Justice said that while the Constitution made representatives of the three branches of the government ex-officio members of the JBC, “it has given the most affected and interested sectors: the retired Justices of the Court, the IBP, the law academe, and the private sector, a voice in the appointment process by making them regular members in a council of seven.”
Chief Justice Gesmundo said that the composition of the JBC makes the whole government and other stakeholders in the judicial system, especially the people, responsible for the quality of nominees submitted to the President “and eventually, for the kind of judiciary we have.”
The Chief Justice likewise put in focus the importance of the JBC, saying: “Surely, there had been calls for a change in our judicial selection and appointment process, even to the extreme, suggesting the abolition of the JBC. But while our system may not be perfect, we have the JBC to thank not only for having the best qualified appointed to judicial posts but also in keeping the ineligible, undeserving, and mediocre from even being considered for appointment.”
Apart from Chief Justice Gesmundo, retired Chief Justice and incumbent Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin and Vice President Sara Zimmerman Duterte also delivered their messages to the JBC in person and through recorded video message respectively.
The JBC is composed of: Chief Justice Gesmundo, Ex-Officio Chairperson; Secretary of Justice Jesus Crispin C. Remulla, Ex-Officio Member; Senator Francis N. Tolentino and Rep. Juliet Marie De Leon Ferrer, Ex-Officio Members; Justice Mendoza, Executive Committee Chairperson and Regular Member representing the Retired Supreme Court Justices; Judge Toribio E. Ilao, Jr. (ret.), Regular Member representing the Private Sector; Judge Franklin J. Demonteverde (ret.), Regular Member representing the IBP; and Atty. Nesauro H. Firme, Regular Member representing the Academe. (Courtesy of the Supreme Court Public Information Office)