JBC – 009
RULES OF THE JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL
WHEREAS, under the Constitution, the authority to nominate appointees to the Judiciary (CONST., Art, VIII, Section 8) and to the offices of the ombudsman and of his Deputies (CONST., Art. XI, Section 9) is vested in the Judicial and Bar Council (hereafter Council);
WHEREAS, the Constitution mandates that members of the judiciary, and the Ombudsman and his Deputies must be, in addition to other requirements, person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence (CONST., Art. XI, Section 8), respectively;
WHEREAS, only those nominated by the Council in a list to be officially transmitted to the President of the Philippines may be appointed by the latter as Justice or Judge or as Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman;
WHEREAS, once appointed a Justice or Judge shall hold office during good behavior until he reaches the age of seventy years or becomes incapacitated to discharge the duties of his office (CONST., Art. VIII, Sec 11); once appointed the Ombudsman and his Deputies would serve for seven years, and the Ombudsman may be removed only by impeachment (CONST., Art. XI, Sec.11 and Sec. 2);
WHEREAS, the Council is thus vested with a delicate function and burdened with a great responsibility; its task of determining who meets the constitutional requirements to merit recommendation for appointment to the Judiciary is as most difficult and trying duty because the virtues and qualities of competence, integrity, probity and independence are not easily determinable as they are developed and nurtured through the years; and it is self evident that, to be a good Judge, one must have attained sufficient mastery of the law and legal principles, be of irreproachable character and must posses unsullied reputation and integrity, should consider his office as a sacred public trust; and, above all, he must be one whose loyalty to law, justice and the ideals of an independent Judiciary is beyond doubt;
WHEREAS, in the selection of nominees for the Ombudsman and his Deputies, the same difficulty would confront the Council not only in light of the Constitutional requirement that they must have been for ten years or more a judge or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines before their appointment, but also because of the solemn duties assign to them in the promotion and enhancement of the principle of accountability of public officers and as protectors of the people. (CONST., Art. XI, Sec. 12);
WHEREAS, while it is not possible or advisable to lay down ironclad rules to determine the fitness of those who aspire to become Justice or Judge, ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman, certain guidelines or criteria may be prescribed to ascertain if one seeking such office meets the minimum constitutional qualifications and possesses qualities of mind and heart expected of a member the Judiciary, or an Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman;
WHEREAS, while the Council has been applying similar criteria in its assessment of candidates to the judicial office or the Ombudsman or the Deputy Ombudsman, there is a need to put these criteria in writing to insure transparency in its proceedings and promote stability and uniformity in its guiding precepts and principles;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Judicial and Bar Council hereby prescribes the following rules or criteria which should be considered in the selection and nomination of prospective appointees for every judicial position or for Ombudsman or for Deputy Ombudsman, to be submitted to the President for his final consideration in the exercise of his appointing power, to wit;
FILLING OF VACANCIES
Section 1. Vacancies in the Supreme Court – Vacancies in the Office of the Chief Justice and the Associate Justice in the Supreme Court shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof. (Const., Art. VIII, sec. 4,par.1).
Section 2. Vacancies in the Office of the Ombudsman – Vacancies in the Office of the Ombudsman or his Deputies shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof. (Const., Art.XI, Sec.9).
Section 3. Vacancies in the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and all other Courts. – Vacancies in the Court of Appeals Sandiganbayan and all other courts shall be filled within ninety days from the submission of the list of nominees for the vacancy concerned.
Section 4. Call for Applications – (a) the occurrence of any vacancy in the Supreme Court or in the Office of the Ombudsman opens, ipso facto, the vacant position for filing and acceptance and applicants therefore.
(b)With the effective, efficient and expeditious administration of justice always in mind, the Council shall open for applicants other vacancies in the Judiciary taking into account the advice of the Supreme Court and of the condition of the dockets of the positions involved.
Section 5. Filing of Application for Appointment – Application for Appointment may be done by the applicant himself or by recommendation of another person, an association or organization. In the latter case, the applicant concerned must manifest his acceptance of the recommendation either in the recommendation paper itself or in a separate document.
Section 6. Where to file Application or Recommendation – The Application or Recommendation shall be filed personally or by registered mail with the Secretariat of the Council, which must indicate therein the date and time of the filing, or receipt thereof if filed by registered mail.
Section 7. Contents of Application – The Application must be in the form prescribed in the Council. However, if the application filed is not in such form, the applicant must submit said application in the correct form within five (5) days from notice served on him by the Secretariat? In case of a recommendation shall be required to submit said acceptance within the same period.
Section 8. Deadline for filing Application – The Council may fix the deadline for the filing of applications or recommendations for appointment, or may extend it for justifiable reasons. In case of recommendations, the acceptance by the recommendee must be made before the deadline. Applications or Recommendations filed beyond the deadline will not be honored.
Section 9. Publications of list of Applicants – The list of applicants or recommendees which the Council shall consider in a given time shall be published once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines and once in a newspaper of local circulation in the province or city where the vacancy in question is located. The publication shall invite the public to inform the Council within the period fixed therein of any complaint or derogatory information against the applicant. Copies of the list shall likewise be posted in three conspicuous places in the province, city or municipality where the vacancy is located. As far as practicable, copies thereof shall be furnished the major religious, civic, social, professional business and other non governmental organizations in the city or municipality where such vacancy is located. The Executive Judge o the Regional Trial court to whose territorial jurisdiction the vacant judicial post belongs shall see to it that these requirements are complied with.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), as well as its chapter in the province or in the city where the vacancy is located shall likewise be furnished copies of the list of applicants.
CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY QUALIFICATIONS FOR APPOINTMENT
Section 1. Qualifications applicable to all members of the Judiciary and the Ombudsman and his Deputies. – (a) No person may be appointed Member of the Supreme Court or any lower collegiate court or as Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman he is natural-born citizen of the Philippines (CONST., Art. VIII, Sec.7, par.1; Id., Art. XI, Sec 8).
(b) No person may be appointed judge of any lower than a collegiate court unless he is a citizen of the Philippines (CONST. Id., Art. VIII, Sec.7, par.2).
(a) A member of the Judiciary must be proven competence, integrity, probity and independence (id.id.par.2).
Section 2. Additional qualifications for Members of the Supreme Court - No person shall be appointed member of the Supreme Court unless he is at least forty years of age or more a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines. (Id., id.par1.).
Section 3. Additional qualifications of Members of the Court of Appeals – No person shall be appointed as member of the Court of Appeals unless he Possess the same qualifications as those prescribed by Members of the supreme Court. (B.P. Blg129, Section 7).
Section 4. Additional qualifications of members of the Sandiganbayan – No person shall be appointed as Member of the Sandiganbayan unless he is at least forty years of age and for at least ten years has been a judge of a court of record or has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines or has held office requiring admission to the bar as a pre-requisite for a like period. (P.D.1606, as amended, Section1).
Section 5. Additional qualifications of Ombudsman and his Deputies – The Ombudsman and his Deputies must be at the time of their appointment, at least forty years old, of recognized probity and independence, a member of the Philippine Bar, must have been ten years a judge or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines, and must not have been a candidate for any elective office in the immediately preceding election (CONST.Art. XI, Section 8).
Section 6. Additional qualifications of Judges of the Court of Tax Appeals – Judges of the Court of Tax Appeals shall have the same qualifications as members of the Supreme Court (R.A. No.1125, Section 1, in relation to C.A no. 103, Section1).
Section 7. Additional qualifications of Judges of the Regional Trial Courts – No person shall be appointed Judge of the Regional Trial Court unless he is at least thirty-five years of age, and, for at least ten years has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines or has held a public office in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite. (B.P. Blg.129.Section 15).
Section 8. Additional qualifications of judges of courts for first level – No person shall be appointed judge of courts of the first level (Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal trial Court, Municipal Circuit Trial Court) unless he is at least thirty-five years of age, and for at least five years, has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines requiring to the admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite. (B.P.Blg.129, Section 26).
Section 9. Additional qualifications of judges of Shari' a courts – In addition to the qualifications for members of Regional Trial Courts, a judge of the Shari' a district court must be learned in the Islamic law and Jurisprudence. (P.D. No. 1083,Art.140).
No person shall be appointed judge of the Shari' a circuit unless he is at least twenty-five years of age, and has passed an examination in the Shari' a and Islamic Jurisprudence to be given by the Supreme Court for Admission to special membership in the Philippine Bar to practice in the Shari' a Courts. (Id., Art.152).
COMPETENCE OF APPLICANTS
Section 1. Guidelines in determining competence – In determining the competence of the applicant or recommendee for appointment, the Council shall consider his educational preparation, experience, performance and other accomplishment of the applicant.
Section 2. Educational preparation – The council shall evaluate the applicant's scholastic record up to the completion of the degree in law and other baccalaureate and post graduate degrees obtained; (b) bar examination performance; (c) civil service eligibilities and grades in other government examinations; (d) academic awards, scholarship and grants received/obtained; and (d) membership in local or international honor societies or professional organizations.
Section 3. Experience – The experience of the applicant in the following shall be considered:
(a) Government service, which include that in the Judiciary (Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and courts of the first and second levels); the executive department office of the President proper and the Agencies attached thereto and the cabinet); the Legislative department (elective or appointive positions); constitutional commissions or offices; Local government units (elective and appointive positions); and quasi-judicial bodies.
(b) Private practice, which may either be general practice, especially in courts of justice, as proven by among other documents, certifications from Members of the Judiciary and the IBP and appropriate government agencies or professional organizations as well as teaching or administrative experience in the academic; and
(c) Others, such as service in the international organizations or with foreign governments or other agencies.
Section 4. Performance – (a) The applicant who is in the government service shall submit his performance ratings which shall include a verified statement as to such performance for the past three years.
(b) For incumbent members of the Judiciary who seek a promotional or lateral appointment, performance may be based on landmark decisions penned; court records as to docket; reports of the office of the court Administrator; verified feedback from the IBP; and verified statement as to his performance for the past three years, which shall include his caseload, his average monthly output and all actions proceedings, the number of cases deemed submitted and the date they were deemed submitted, and the number of this decisions during the immediately preceding two year period appealed to a higher court and the percentage of affirmance thereof.
Section 5. Other Accomplishments – the Council shall likewise consider other accomplishments of the applicant, such as authorship of law books, treatises, articles and other legal writings, whether published or not; and leadership in professional, civil or other organizations.
Section 1. Evidence of Integrity – The council shall take every possible step to verify the applicants records and of reputation for honesty, integrity, incorruptibility, irreproachable conduct and fidelity to sound moral and ethical standards. For this purpose, the applicant shall submit to the council certifications or testimonials thereof from reputable government officials and non-governmental organizations, and clearances from the court National Bureau of Investigation, police, and from such other agencies as the council may require.
Section 2. Background Check – The Council may order a discrete background check on the integrity, reputation and character of the applicant, and receive feedback thereon from the public, which it shall check or verify to validate the means thereof.
Section 3. Testimonies of Parties – The Council may receive written opposition to an applicant on ground of his moral fitness and its discretion, the Council may receive the testimony of the oppositor at a hearing conducted for the purpose, with due notice to the applicant who shall be allowed to be cross-examine the opposite and to offer countervailing evidence.
Section 4. Anonymous Complaints – Anonymous complaints against an applicant shall not be given due course, unless there appears on its face probable cause sufficient to engender belief that the allegations may be true. In the latter case the Council may either direct a discrete investigation or require the applicant to comment thereon in writing or during the interview.
Section 5. Disqualification – The following are disqualified from being nominated for appointment to any judicial post or as Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman:
1. Those with pending criminal or regular administrative cases;
2. Those with pending criminal cases in foreign courts or tribunals; and
3. Those who have been convicted in any criminal case; or in administrative case, where the penalty imposed is at least a fine or more than P10000, unless has been granted judicial clemency.
Section 6. Other instances of disqualification – Incumbent judges, officials or personnel of the Judiciary who are facing administrative complaints under informal preliminary investigation (IPI) by the Office of the Court of Administrator may likewise be disqualified from being nominated if, in the determination of the Council, the charges are serious or grave as to affect the fitness of the applicant for nomination.
For purpose of this Section and of the preceding Section 5 in so far as pending regular administrative cases are concerned, the Secretary of the Council shall, from time to time, furnish the Office of the Court of Administrator the name of an applicant upon receipt of the application/recommendation and completion of the required papers; and within ten days from the receipt thereof the Court Administrator shall report in writing to the Council whether or not the applicant if facing a regular administrative case or an IPI case and the status thereof. In regard to the IPI case, The Court Administrator shall attach to his report copies of the complaint and the comment of the respondent.
Section 1. Evidence of probity and independence – Any evidence relevant to the candidate's probity and independence such as, but not limited to, decisions he has rendered if he is an incumbent member of the judiciary or reflective of the soundness of his judgement, courage, rectitude, cold neutrality and strength of character shall be considered.
Section 2. Testimonials of probity and independence – The council may likewise consider validated testimonies of the applicant's probity and independence from reputable officials and impartial organizations.
SOUND PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL CONDITION
Section 1. Good health – Good physical health and sound mental/ psychological and emotional condition of the applicant play a critical role in his capacity and capability to perform the delicate task of the administering justice. The applicant or recommending party shall submit together with his application or recommendation a sworn medical certificate or the results of an executive medical examination issued or conducted, as the case may be, within two months prior to the filing of the application or recommendation. At its discretion, the Council may require the applicant to submit himself to another medical or physical examination if it still has come doubts on the findings obtained in the medical certificate or the results of the executive medical examinations.
Section 2. Psychological/psychiatric tests. – The applicant shall submit to psychological/psychiatric tests to be conducted by the Supreme Court Medical clinic or a psychologist and or /psychiatrist duly accredited by the Council.
Section 1. Conduct of interviews – The Council en banc, or any panel or members thereof as may be authorized by the Council, shall conduct personal interview of candidates to, inter alia, observe their personality, demeanor, deportment and physical condition; asses their ability to express themselves, especially the language of the law in court trials/proceedings and their decisions or rulings; tests their mystery of the law and legal principles; inquire into their philosophies, values, etc; determine their probity and independence of mind; and evaluate their readiness and commitment to assure and fulfill the duties and responsibilities of judgeship.
The Interview may be held or conducted outside of Manila.
Section 2. Submission of reports of interview – Reports of the personal interview shall be submitted to the Secretary of the Council which shall furnish the members with copies thereof. The reports are hereby declared strictly confidential documents which shall be available only to the members of the Council.
APPOINTMENT TO THE SUPREME COURT
Section 1. Due weight and regard to the recommendees of the Supreme Court. – I n every case involving an appointment to a seat in the Supreme Court, the Council shall give due weight and regard to the recommendees of the Supreme Court. For this purpose, the Council shall submit to the Court a list of candidates for any vacancy in the Court with an executive summary of its evaluation and assessment of each of them, together with all relevant records concerning the candidates from whom the Court may base the selection of its recommendees.
Section 2. Age of prospective nominee – In the selection of nominees to vacancy in the Supreme Court, the Council must consider his age with a view to discourage appointment of those who would not be able serve it for a reasonably sufficient time. The Council shall not consider for nomination non-career and career applicants who may no longer be able to serve the court for at least five years of for at least one and one half years, respectively, before reaching the compulsory age of retirement.
SPECIAL GUIDELINES FOR NOMINATION TO A VACANCY IN THE COURT OF APPEALS AND SANDIGANBAYAN
Section 1. Additional criteria for nomination to the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan – In addition to the foregoing guidelines the Council should consider the following in evaluating the merits of applicants for a vacancy in the Court of Appeals and Sandiganbayan.
1. As a general rule, he must least have five years of experience, as a judge of Regional Trial Court, except when he is in his favor outstanding credentials, as evidenced by, inter alia, impressive scholastic or educational record and performance in Bar examinations, excellent reputation for honesty, integrity, probity and independence of mind; at least very satisfactory performance rating for three (3) years preceding in the filing of his application for nomination; and excellent potentials for appellate judgeship.
2. If the applicant directly comes from the private sector, he must show outstanding credentials as evidenced by an impressive scholastic or educational background and performance in the Bar examinations; leadership in the legal profession; outstanding record as a lawyer with a sullied reputation for honesty, integrity, competence, probity and independence of mind; adherence to sound moral principles and fidelity to the Code of professional responsibility and excellent potential for appellate judgeship, with the expectation that he can serve the Judiciary for not less than five(5) years until he reaches the compulsory age of retirement.
Section 1. Votes required for inclusion as nominee – No applicant shall be considered for nomination for appointment to a judicial position unless he shall obtain the affirmative vote at least a majority of all the Members of the Council.
Section 2. Votes required when integrity of a qualified applicant is challenged – In every case when an integrity of an applicant who is not otherwise disqualified for nomination is raised or challenged, the affirmative vote of all the Member of the Council must be obtained for the favorable consideration of his nomination.
These rules of the Judicial and Bar Council shall take effect on the first day of December 2000, and shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines not later than 31 October 2000.
Promulgated this 18th day of October 2000.
(Sgd) HILARIO G. DAVIDE JR.
(Sgd) ARTEMIO G. TUQUERO
Secretary of Justice
(Sgd) AQUILINO G. PIMENTEL JR.
(Sgd) ALFREDO E. ABUEG JR.
(Sgd) REGINO C. HERMOSISIMA JR.
Retired Supreme Court Justice
(Sgd) ALFREDO M. MARIGOMEN
(Sgd) AMADO L. DIMAYUGA
(Sgd) TERISITA CRUZ SISON
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation