Padilla, Estrada debate over judiciary appointments

Senators Robin Padilla and Jinggoy Estrada. Bibo Nueva España and Voltaire F. Domingo/ Senate PRIB

MANILA — Should the nomination of judiciary officials still lie on the decision of the President or should be relegated to the Commission on Appointments (CA)?

This question was posed by Sen. Robin Padilla during Monday’s Senate Finance committee hearing which centered on the judiciary’s proposed P52.72 billion budget for 2023.

Padilla based his query on the proposal of lawyer Estelito Mendoza to transfer the judiciary members’ ad interim appointment scrutiny to the CA instead of the current system where an appointee would have to pass the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), then finally, to the President for his final pick.

Medoza’s proposal requires an amendment to the Constitution, said Court Administrator Raul Villanueva.

Padilla then raised the observation that appointment of justices are getting “politicized” given the President’s sole authority to appoint.

Villanueva, in response, said appointment of justices cannot be insulated from politics.

But the idea of relegating the task of scrutinizing judiciary appointees from JBC to CA does not sit well with Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

“It will be a more tedious and long process if all justices, all judges including prosecutors to pass the sa Commission on Appointments? Kasi sabi po ni Senator Padilla merong konting pultika ang nangyayari. If you subject these justices or judges, sino ba magde-decide? Si CA. Eh di ba puro pulitiko rin?” Estrada pointed out.

Justice Midas Marquez on the other hand suggested to Padilla to review the recommendation of the Consultative Committee created by the Duterte administration to review the 1987 Constitution.

Part of the recommendation penned by the group of former Chief Justice Reynato Puno was to expand the current 7-man JBC to a 15 to 20-man council. -Sherrie Ann Torres/ ABS-CBN News