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249 | Dulay v Judicial and Bar Council | Appointment to Judiciary- JBC

G.R. No. 202143 | July 3, 2012 | Resolution

The Supreme Court has dismissed the petition questioning the Presidents constitutional power to
appoint the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and arguing that only the incumbent Chief Justice
can head the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
Citing Section 9, Article VIII of the Constitution, the Court stressed that the Constitution provides
that The members of the Supreme Court and the judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the
President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every
vacancy.
A plain reading of the constitutional provisions on the Judicial Department in Article VIII of the
1987 Constitution clearly shows that the phrase Members of the Supreme Court and the words
Members and Member are repeatedly used to refer to the Justices of the Supreme Court without
distinction whether he be the Chief Justice or any of the Associate Justices or all fifteen Justices,
ruled the Court in its seven-page resolution.
The Court also held that it does not agree with petition that the JBC can only be headed by the
incumbent Chief Justice and no other.
The Court explained that the JBCs principal function is to recommend appointees to the Judiciary.
For every vacancy, the JBC submits to the President a list of at least three nominees and the
President may not appoint anybody who is not in the list. Any vacancy in the SC is required by the
Constitution to be filled within 90 days from the occurrence thereof. It cannot, therefore, be
compromised only because the constitutionally named Chair could not sit in the JBC. Although it
would be preferable if the membership of the JBC is complete, the JBC can still operate to perform
its mandated task of submitting the list of nominees to the President even if the constitutionally
named ex-officio Chair does not sit in the JBC, the Court stressed.
The Court held that considering that the complete membership in the JBC is preferable and
pursuant to its supervisory power over the JBC, it should not be deprived of representation. It ruled
that the most Senior Justice of the High Court, who is not an applicant for the position of Chief
Justice, should participate in the deliberations for the selection of nominees for the said vacant post
and preside over the proceedings in the absence of the constitutionally named ex-officio chair,
pursuant to Section 12 of RA 296, or the Judiciary Act of 1948, which reads: In case of vacancy
in the office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or of his inability to perform the duties and
powers of his office, they shall devolve upon the Associate Justice who is first in precedence, until
such disability is removed, or another Chief Justice is appointed and duly qualified. This provision
shall apply to every Associate Justice who succeeds to the office of the Chief Justice.
In addition, the Court also found that petitioner Famela Dulay is wanting in legal standing to
institute the instant petition as she did not explain her capacity in instituting the petition whether
as citizen or taxpayer filing on behalf of the public who are directly affected by the issues.