Here are some of the news articles and links about TAN and Supreme Court Appointments Watch's efforts to advance reforms in the selection and appointments in the Judiciary.
Next Chief Justice’s first priority: Regain public’s trust in judiciary
SATURDAY, 23 JUNE 2012 19:39
JOEL R. SAN JUAN / REPORTER
PUBLIC clamor for genuine judicial reforms has never been so loud since Chief Justice Renato Corona was ousted almost a month ago by the Senate Impeachment Court for his failure to declare all his money savings in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN).
More than showing the people how Corona misinterpreted the law on the secrecy of bank deposits, the impeachment process exposed the failure of the members of the judiciary to be transparent to the public.
Various stakeholders in the judiciary agreed that Corona’s impeachment has not weakened the judiciary and has initiated steps toward comprehensive reforms and transparency.
Lawyer Marlon Manuel, the national coordinator of the Alternative Law Groups (ALG) and who also served as a prosecutor in the impeachment trial, said impeachment is a process that intends to protect the institution “that is weakened by the presence of erring officials.”
“By holding the highest magistrate accountable, we are protecting the very institution of the Supreme Court [SC] and the judiciary,” he told the BusinessMirror.
The Transparency and Accountability Network (TAN), headed by lawyer Vincent Lazatin, believes that the removal from office of Corona has opened the opportunity for the judiciary to be more independent, credible and competent.
Lazatin said the independence of the SC had been compromised long before Corona was subjected to an impeachment trial, citing the seven appointments made by then-President and now-detained Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of justices who were known to be loyal to her.
He added that the High Tribunal deciding to allow Mrs. Arroyo to appoint the Chief Justice (Corona) before she stepped down from office was a violation of the constitutional ban on “midnight appointments.”
To read the entire article, click the following link http://businessmirror.com.ph/home/top-news/28942-next-chief-justices-first-priority-regain-publics-trust-in-judiciary
Make Screening for the Next CJ Transparent
BY PURPLE ROMERO
Posted on 05/31/2012 3:55 PM | Updated 06/01/2012 6:03 PM
MANILA, Philippines - What do ex-Chief Justice Renato Corona and former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez have in common?
They were both impeached (Corona was convicted on May 29, 2012; Gutierrez resigned even before the trial started in the Senate in 2011). They were both appointees of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and identified as her allies.
More significantly, they got the unanimous vote of the 8-member Judicial and Bar Council, the body that screens and nominates aspirants to the judiciary and the Office of the Ombudsman.
The 1987 Constitution created the JBC supposedly to depoliticize the judiciary. It's chaired by the Chief Justice and is composed of a retired Supreme Court (SC) justice and a representative each from the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Department of Justice, the private sector, the academe, and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Getting the unanimous vote of the JBC meant that both Corona and Gutierrez, as far as the 8 were concerned, met the criteria of probity, integrity and independence.
That both were impeached on charges of lack of independence and betrayal of public trust shows that the JBC has to improve its selection process and be more transparent in making their choices, court observers said.
"The impeachment of Gutierrez is a direct testimony to the weakness of the JBC process," said Vincent Lazatin, executive director of the Transparency and Accountability Network.
To read the entire article, click the following link http://www.rappler.com/nation/6270-time-to-reform-the-jbc