Facts as opposed to research
Columnist Solita Monsod wrote: “And what is this I read, attributed to Sen. Joker Arroyo, that eight previous chief justices had sanctioned the 8-member composition of the JBC. That statement does not jibe with what I learned when I researched on the matter.” (Inquirer, 8/4/12)
Christine Avendaño, the Inquirer’s own reporter who covered the hearing, quoted what Senator Arroyo said: “‘But five chief justices paved the way by relaxing it and adding one member [to the council].’ He pointed out that since the time of Chief Justice Andres Narvasa in 1994 up to the time of [Renato] Corona, or [for] 18 years, the Court allowed two congressional representatives in the [Judicial and Bar Council]. The five chief justices exercised judicial activism, [Arroyo] said.” (Inquirer, 8/3/12)
It’s unfortunate that Ms. Monsod, who was not at the hearing, failed to read the Inquirer report.
The following are excerpts of Senator Arroyo’s recital at the hearing and borne out by transcripts:
“Why did it come to pass that what started with one representative for both houses, when the 1987 Constitution took effect, became one representative and one full vote for each house, as it now stands?
“We must remember that the JBC is under the supervision of the Supreme Court. The evolution started in 1994 under the watch of CJ Narvasa (1992-1998). The membership of the JBC became eight because each house had a representative with one-half vote. This composition continued during the term of CJ [Hilario] Davide (1998-2005), and then graduated to one full vote for each house in 2001.
“CJ Davide was a member of the commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution and thoroughly familiar with the antecedent background of the JBC.
“The composition of the JBC remained uninterrupted during the time of CJ [Artemio] Panganiban (2005-2006), to that of CJ [Reynato] Puno (2006-2010) and CJ Corona (2010-May 2012).
“The 8-member JBC [has] functioned well since its inception in 1994 and no one questioned its composition.
“Not until this solitary petition during the current nomination process for the vacancy left by CJ Corona.”
The foregoing addresses the rest of Ms. Monsod’s research on Mr. Arroyo’s presentation.
—ABIGAIL ANNE HINTO
Office of Sen. Joker P. Arroyo
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