JBC - 009
Rules of the
Judicial and Bar Council
The Supreme Court of the Philippines
THE SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES
HON. HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR.
HON. JOSUE N. BELLOSILLO
HON. JOSE A.R. MELO
HON. REYNATO S. PUNO
HON. JOSE C. VITUG
HON. SANTIAGO M. KAPUNAN
HON. VICENTE V. MENDOZA
HON. ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
HON. LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
HON. FIDEL P. PURISIMA
HON. BERNARDO P. PARDO
HON. ARTURO B. BUENA
HON. MINERVA P. GONZAGA-REYES
HON. CONSUELO M. YNARES-SANTIAGO
HON. SABINO R. DE LEON, JR.
OFFICERS AND MEMBERS
OF JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL
HON. HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR.
Chief Justice of the Philippines
HON. ARTEMIO G. TUQUERO
Secretary of Justice
HON. AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR.
HON. ALFREDO E. ABUEG, JR.
HON. REGINO C. HERMOSISIMA, JR.
Retired Supreme Court Justice
HON. ALFREDO M. MARIGOMEN
HON. AMADO L. DIMAYUGA
HON. TERESITA CRUZ SISON
ATTY. LUZVIMINDA D. PUNO
Table of Contents
SECTION 1. Vacancies in the Supreme Court
SEC. 2. Vacancies in the Office of the Ombudsman
SEC. 3. Vacancies in the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan
and all other courts
SEC. 4. Call for applications
SEC. 5. Filing of application for appointment
SEC. 6. Where to file application or recommendation
SEC. 7. Contents of application
SEC. 8. Deadline for filing of application
SEC. 9. Publication of list of applicants
SECTION 1. Qualifications applicable to all Members
of the Judiciary and the Ombudsman
and his deputies
SEC. 2. Additional qualifications for Members
of the Supreme Court
SEC. 3. Additional qualifications of Members
of the Court of Appeals
SEC. 4. Additional qualifications of Members
of the Sandiganbayan
SEC. 5. Additional qualifications of Ombudsman
and his deputies
SEC. 6. Additional qualifications of Judges
of the Court of Tax Appeals
SEC. 7. Additional qualifications of Judges
of the Regional Trial Courts
SEC. 8. Additional qualifications of judges of courts
of the first level
SEC. 9. Additional qualifications of judges of Shari'a courts
SECTION 1. Guidelines in determining competence
SEC. 2. Educational preparation
SEC. 3. Experience
SEC. 4. Performance
SEC. 5. Other accomplishments
SECTION 1. Evidence of integrity
SEC. 2. Background check
SEC. 3. Testimony of parties
SEC. 4. Anonymous complaints
SEC. 5. Disqualification
SEC. 6. Other instances of disqualification
SECTION 1. Evidence of probity and independence
SEC. 2. Testimonials of probity and independence
SECTION 1. Good health
SEC. 2. Psychological/psychiatric tests
SECTION 1. Conduct of interviews
SEC. 2. Submission of reports of interview
SECTION 1. Due weight and regard to recommendees
of the Supreme Court
SEC. 2. Age of prospective nominee
SECTION 1. Additional criteria for nomination to the
Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan
SECTION 1. Votes required for inclusion as nominee
SEC. 2. Votes required when integrity of
a qualified applicant is challenged
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, persons of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence (CONST., Art. VIII, Section 7, par. 3), and of recognized 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 in the Judiciary 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 or 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 a 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 possess 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 (10) 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 assigned to them in the promotion and enhancement of the principle of accountability of public officers and as protectors of the people (CONST., Art. XI, Section 12);
WHEREAS, while it is not possible or advisable to lay down iron-clad rules to determine the fitness of those who aspire to become a Justice, 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 of 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 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 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 of Associate Justices in the Supreme Court shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof (CONST., Art. VIII, Sec. 4, par. 1).
SEC. 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 by the Council of the list of nominees for the vacancy concerned.
SEC. 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 filling and acceptance of applicants therefor.
(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.
SEC. 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.
SEC. 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.
SEC. 7. Contents of application. - The application must be in the form prescribed by 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 which is not accompanied by the prescribed acceptance, the recommendee who has accepted the recommendation shall be required to submit said acceptance within the same period.
SEC. 8. Deadline for filing of 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.
SEC. 9. Publication 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 concerned 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 of 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 city where the vacancy is located shall likewise be furnished copies of the list of applicants.
CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY QUALIFICATIONS
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 unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines (CONST. Art. VIII, Section 7, par. 1;
(b) No person may be appointed judge of any court lower than a collegiate court unless he is a citizen of the Philippines (CONST. Art. VIII, Section 7, par. 2).
(c) A Member of the Judiciary must be of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence (id., id., par. 3) and a member of the Philippine Bar (id., id., par. 2).
SEC. 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 and must have been for fifteen years or more a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines. (id., id., par 1).
SEC. 3. Additional qualifications of Members of the Court of Appeals. - No person shall be appointed as Member of the Court of Appeals unless he possesses the same qualifications as those prescribed for Members of the Supreme Court. (B.P. Blg. 129, Section 7).
SEC. 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, Section 1).
SEC. 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 for 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).
SEC. 6. Additional qualifications of Judges of the Court of Tax Appeals. â€” 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, Section 1).
SEC. 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).
SEC. 8. Additional qualifications of judges of courts of the first level. - No person shall be appointed judge of courts of the first level (Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Circuit Trial Court) unless he is at least thirty years of age, and, for at least five 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 26).
SEC. 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, Article 140).
No person shall be appointed judge of the Shari'a Circuit Court 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., Article 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 accomplishments including the completion of the prejudicature program of the Philippine Judicial Academy; provided, however, that in places where the number of applicants or recommendees is insufficient and the prolonged vacancy in the court concerned will prejudice the administration of justice, strict compliance with the requirement of completion of the prejudicature program shall be deemed directory." (Effective Dec. 1, 2003)
SEC. 2. Educational preparation. - The Council shall evaluate the applicant's (a) scholastic record up to 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, scholarships or grants received/obtained; and (e) membership in local or international honor societies or professional organizations.
(a) Government service, which includes 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 the affidavits of reputable persons; or specialized practice, as proven by, among other documents, certifications from the IBP and appropriate government agencies or professional organizations, as well as teaching or administrative experience in the academe; and
(c) Others, such as service in international organizations or with foreign governments or other agencies.
(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 status of docket; reports of the Office of the Court Administrator; verified feedback from the IBP; and a verified statement as to his performance for the past three years, which shall include his caseload, his average monthly output in all actions and proceedings, the number of cases deemed submitted and the date they were deemed submitted, and the number of his decisions during the immediately preceding two-year period appealed to a higher court and the percentage of affirmance thereof.
SEC. 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, civic or other organizations.
SECTION 1. Evidence of integrity. - The Council shall take every possible step to verify the applicant's record of and 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 courts, National Bureau of Investigation, police, and from such other agencies as the Council may require.
SEC. 2. Background check. - The Council may order a discreet 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 merits thereof.
SEC. 3. Testimony of parties.- The Council may receive written opposition to an applicant on ground of his moral fitness and, at 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 cross-examine the oppositor and to offer countervailing evidence.
SEC. 4. Anonymous complaints. - Anonymous complaints against an applicant shall not be given due course, unless there appears on its face a probable cause sufficient to engender belief that the allegations may be true. In the latter case, the Council may either direct a discreet investigation or require the applicant to comment thereon in writing or during the interview.
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 an administrative case, where the penalty imposed is at least a fine of more than
SEC. 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 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 purposes of this Section and of the preceding Section 5 insofar as pending regular administrative cases are concerned, the Secretary of the Council shall, from time to time, furnish the Office of the Court Administrator the name of an applicant upon receipt of the application/recommendation and completion of the required papers; and within ten days from receipt thereof the Court Administrator shall report in writing to the Council whether or not the applicant is 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 judgment, courage, rectitude, cold neutrality and strength of character shall be considered.
SEC. 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 administering justice. The applicant or the recommending party shall submit together with his application or the 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 and physical examination if it still has some doubts on the findings contained in the medical certificate or the results of the executive medical examination.
SEC. 2. Psychological/psychiatric tests. - The applicant shall submit to psychological/psychiatric tests to be conducted by the Supreme Court Medical Clinic or by a psychologist and/or psychiatrist duly accredited by the Council.
SECTION 1. Conduct of interviews.- The Council en banc, or any panel of 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; assess their ability to express themselves, especially in the language of the law in court trials/proceedings and in their decisions or rulings; test their mastery 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 assume and fulfill the duties and responsibilities of judgeship.
"The interviews for the positions in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and Ombudsman shall be conducted in public. Access by the media to the interviews shall be subject to the rules that the Council may promulgate. For this purpose, the list of candidates, date and place of interview 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." (Italics supplied)
The interviews may be held or conducted outside of Manila.
SEC. 2. Submission of reports of interview.- Reports of the personal interviews 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 recommendees of the Supreme Court. - In 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 the 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.
SEC. 2. Age of prospective nominee. - In the selection of nominees to a vacancy in the Supreme Court, the Council must consider his age with a view to discourage appointment of those who would not be able to serve it for a reasonably sufficient time.
SPECIAL GUIDELINES FOR NOMINATION
TO A VACANCY IN THE COURT OF APPEALS
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 have at least five years of experience as a Judge of a Regional Trial Court, except when he has in his favor outstanding credentials, as evidenced by, inter alia, impressive scholastic or educational record and performance in the Bar examinations, excellent reputation for honesty, integrity, probity and independence of mind; at least very satisfactory performance rating for three (3) years preceding the filing of his application for nomination; and excellent potentials for appellate judgeship.
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 unsullied 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 of at least a majority of all the Members of the Council.
SEC. 2. Votes required when integrity of a qualified applicant is challenged. - In every case where the integrity of an applicant who is not otherwise disqualified for nomination is raised or challenged, the affirmative vote of all the Members 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.