And The Search For CJ Is On!
by Rommel Yamzon
The people are waiting to see who will be the next Supreme Court Chief Justice (CJ) since Atty. Renato Corona has been impeached by the Philippine Senate. Senator Francis Pangilinan proposed that the selection process by the Judicial Bar Council (JBC) should be made public so that the people may know.
While others, just like a reality show-cum-talent search à la America Idol (AI) / X-Factor, they suggest that it should be aired live on radio and television. Now, we can say that the telenovela has ended—but the talents search is on!
As matter of requirement we expect that JBC shall consider a person of good reputation, high moral character, and proven integrity, independent and hold popular trust of the general public. But Even so, we in the human rights community believes that whoever chosen as the next CJ should not only maintains ethical standards or has a remarkable professional experience in the fields of law, but must possess an adept appreciation and understanding of human rights—and this should be looked upon as an essential.
Until now, there are a lot of cases pending in courts that hinders the administration of justice. Our judicial system are usually Interposed with delays in the processing of cases filed. Somehow, the Philippine Constitution guarantees the right to life, property and liberty; free access to courts and adequate legal assistance; the so-called Miranda rights; the right to counsel; presumption of innocence; and the right to a speedy trial, but still it remains melodious words. But the delay in seeking justice and reparation by victims, along with corruption and distortions in legal proceedings poses to the courts of law is grave and, in some instances, irreparable.
The JBC and most especially President Benigno Aquino III must choose a CJ who is trustworthy and consistent with carrying out a policy reform within the judiciary. And To a great extent, she/he should have knowledge of social issues affecting lives of the marginalized that have potential human rights implications. They must ensure that the next CJ have the ability to contribute to strengthen democracy and can guarantee the protection of the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all Filipinos.
We hope that President Aquino favors these propositions and choose a CJ that can truly serve the judiciary. And if things worked out well, then we may now urge the new CJ to prove her/his worth. As Randy Jackson (AI Judge) had said and I quote: “Dude, you were the bomb…you’re through to the next round!”
Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas
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