The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is set to shortlist at least three nominees to the vacant associate justice post in the Supreme Court on November 7. JBC regular member for the academe Jose Mejia told GMA News Online that the eight-member council will be meeting Wednesday next week to vote for the top nominees for the post. The JBC is constitutionally mandated to screen and vet nominees for vacant posts in the judiciary and the offices of the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman. Mejia said President Benigno Aquino III has until November 22 — or 90 days after the post was vacated — to appoint a new associate justice. The post was vacated following the appointment of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice replacing the ousted Renato Corona. She was the third most junior associate justice and one of three appointees of Aquino to the high court. Last week, the JBC concluded its two-day public interviews of 12 of the 15 candidates for the SC post. Three candidates — former Ateneo Law dean Cesar Villanueva,
founding dean of the De La Salle University College of Law Jose Manuel Diokno, and Teresita Herbosa, a commissioner with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) — were no longer interviewed because they had already been interviewed in July when they vied for the chief justice post. Sereno, as JBC ex-officio chair, led last week's public interviews that included, among others, government chief negotiator and former University of the Philippines law dean Marvic Leonen and former Department of Energy Secretary Raphael Perpetuo M. Lotilla. Other candidates interviewed were: Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Ramon M. Bato, Jr., former University of Perpetual Help System Law Dean Jose-Santos B. Bisquera CA Associate Justice Rosemari D. Carandang Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Maria Cristina Cornejo former RTC Judge Adoracion P. Cruz-Avisado CA Associate Justice Magdangal M. De Leon CA Associate Justice Isaias Dicdican CA Presiding Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr. CA Associate Justice Jose C. Reyes, Jr. CA Associate Justice Noel G. Tijam.
— Mark D. Merueñas/KBK, GMA News