Tuesday, January 19, 2010

QC Rep. Defensor’s clamor for JBC CJ list raises Constitutional issue

DEFENSOR CLAMOR FOR JBC LIST RE CJ APPOINTMENT RAISES CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE: Recently-retired Supreme Court Justice Leonardo A. Quisumbing is raising a legal issue that may put in serious doubt the legality (or, more appropriately, the Constitutionality) of the appointments of judges and justices of all courts in the Philippines where the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) allowed the representatives from the Senate and the House of Representatives to vote separately or individually.

In an informal discussion with members of the Rotary Club of Intramuros, District 3810, last January 14, 2010, Thursday, at the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board office of Chairman Bert Suansing, Quisumbing said the current practise of allowing the Senator-representative of the Senate and the Congressman-Representative of the House to vote as if they have one vote each actually violates Section 8 (1) of the 1987 Constitution.

Quisumbing, elected as the president-nominee of the Rotary Club of Intramuros for Rotary Year 2011-2012, was actually reacting to the clamor aired by Quezon City Rep. Matias Defensor calling on the JBC to already submit a list of possible nominees for the replacement of the retiring Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno.

Quisumbing said Defensor does not have a right to air his clamor on his own, since, the former justice said, Defensor represents just the “50% part” of the Constitutionally-mandated representative coming from the Congress of the Philippines, so that, to be given any significance at all, Defensor’s clamor must be concurred first in by his counterpart from the Senate.


JBC SHOULD HAVE ONLY ONE CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE? For our readers here to be able to appreciate what Quisumbing is saying, I am reproducing what Section 8 (1), Art. VIII of the 1987 Constitution provides.

This section says: “A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of the Supreme Court, composed of the Chief Justice as ex-officio chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a representative from Congress as ex-officio members, a representative of the Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a retired member of the Supreme Court, and a representative of the private sector...” (the highlighting is mine).

Quisumbing noted that this part of the charter clearly says the JBC shall only have one representative from Congress---which means, the House and the Senate must agree on this one, lone, or single representative, to represent the legislature in the JBC.

But then, the practise of allowing one congressman from the House and one senator from the Senate has evolved, which resulted in allowing the congressman and the senator to vote separately, as if they are entitled to one vote each.


CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS LOOMS: But this is clearly violative of the Constitution, Quisumbing noted, and Defensor’s latest posturing may prompt someone to raise the issue of whether the congressman from Quezon City can legally do what he is doing---clamoring, on his own and without the concurrence of his counterpart from the Senate, for a list to be submitted by the JBC from which a chief justice can be appointed by President Arroyo.

This could ultimately result in questioning the appointments of the other judges and justices who were nominated by the JBC where the congressman-representative and the senator-representative voted separately, casting one vote each, he said.

If this happens, a serious Constitutional crisis can erupt and can divide the country further, the former magistrate told members of the Rotary Club of Intramuros.

Quisumbing did not actually say it, but if indeed the appointments of some judges and justices could be Constitutionally-defective precisely because of the problem of “over-voting” by the representatives of the legislature in the JBC, their salaries, allowances and other emoluments would have been erroneously paid.

Worse, even their official acts, represented in the decisions, rulings or other orders issued by them, could be attacked and re-opened, which can result in a larger---and more lethal---legal problem for the nation.


THE TRANSFIGURATION OF JESUS: In the life of Jesus, there are two incidents which are recounted in the Bible where God Himself confirms, directly and in no uncertain terms, that Jesus is, indeed, the Son of God.

The first incident is the baptism of Jesus at the River Jordan, and the second incident is the so-called “Transfiguration” on top of the mountain. In these two incidents, God announces, in the full view and hearing of many people: “This is my son, whom I am well pleased, whom I have chosen, listen to him.”

The “Transfiguration” now forms part of the Holy Rosary of the Roman Catholic Christians as its fourth mystery in its Mysteries of Light (or Luminous Mysteries), and is found in the Gospels of Matthew (17:1 to 13), Mark (9:2 to 13) and Luke (9:28 to 36).

Why is the Transfiguration an important part of Jesus’ life, aside from the fact that it is an event that, like other parts of the Bible pertaining to Him, confirms His divine status as the Son of God?

It is important because the narrations of the event by Matthew, Mark and Luke indicate, with precise uniformity, that there is a “connection”, as it were, between Jesus and the prophets of old, especially the important ones like Moses and Elijah, which connection on the other hand shows the continuity of God’s directions for the salvation of man.


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