Jun 212013
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Friday concluded its two-day public interviews of the second and final batch of candidates for the vacated Sandiganbayan presiding justice post.

The conclusion of the interviews came with the “disqualification” of one of the 10 candidates—Jasper Lucero, a private lawyer—for failing to submit necessary documents needed before the interview.

The last two candidates to face the JBC panel were a Sandiganbayan justice who wants closed-circuit television cameras during anti-graft trials, and a Justice undersecretary who had previously applied in other plum judicial posts.

During his interview, Justice Alex Quiroz said it was his “dream” to have Sandiganbayan proceedings open to the public through CCTV cameras and the internet.

“I have a dream should I be appointed. Since criminal proceedings in open court should be in public, it is my wish that a court be covered by a CCTV [camera] and the same would be connected to the Internet,” he told the panel, led by JBC chair Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

He also said he wanted to cut down the Sandiganbayan’s use of paper by 30 percent in a bid to turn it into a “paperless” anti-graft court.

“I’ve been with the prosecution. Now, I’m in the judiciary so I’ve seen all those aspects,” said Quiroz, the fifth most junior member of the Sandiganbayan.

“I don’t think there is any applicant (who) possesses such credentials as being a prosecutor, being at the Office of the Solicitor General, then judiciary,” added the 55-year-old Quiroz.

Quiroz, who has been with the Sandiganbayan since December 2008, admitted having “limitations” although he assured the JBC panel that”I work fast.”

Meanwhile, Justice Undersecretary Leah Armamento revealed that she had previously attempted to secure a post as chief justice, Court of Appeals associate justice and even Ombudsman in the past.

“That’s part of my career path,” Armamento said when asked why she seems to have a habit of applying in such high-ranking positions.

Armamento said she has “no problems” with Statements of Assets, Laibilities, and Net Worth (SALN) being made available to the public. “That’s part of transparency,” she said.

Armamento said she has been a government prosecutor for 19 years and worked with the Office of the Solicitor General for five years.

After the public interviews, JBC member Jose Mejia assessed the two-day event as being “more extensive and exhaustive.”

“Nakita ninyo naman paano nag-interview si Chief Justice and how she participated. So, mas malaman siguro ito with respect to questions and quality,” Mejia said.

“We had all the elbow room, so to speak, to ask all the questions we want asked,” he added.

Mejia said Lucero was disqualified not “in terms of personal qualification but disqualified for failing to submit documentary requirements.” — KBK, GMA News

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