MANILA, Philippines --- There are now 18 candidates for the position of Chief Justice.
The latest nominees are former solicitor general Francisco I. Chavez and former Makati City congressman Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin Jr.
Chavez was nominated by Manuel Baviera, organizer of the Whistle Blowers' Association of the Philippines, while Locsin was recommended by lawyer Brigido Dulay and ABAKADA party-list president Jonathan de la Cruz.
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has until June 18 to accept applications and nominations to the top post in the judiciary. It is also the deadline for those nominated to accept or decline their nominations.
Earlier nominated for the Chief Justice post were retired Judge Manuel Siangco Jr., lawyer Rafael Morales, Ormoc City Vice Mayor Nepomuceno Aparis, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Bureau of
Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares, former University of the Philippines law dean Raul Pangalangan, lawyer Marianito Sadondoncillo, women's rights advocate Katrina Legarda, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, and former Ateneo de Manila University law dean Cesar Villanueva.
The lone applicant was a nurse name Jocelyn Esquivel. It was not known immediately whether Ms. Esquivel is also a lawyer.
De Lima yesterday said that if Esquivel is not a lawyer she is not qualified to even be considered by the JBC.
"Kung nurse ka, hindi ka qualified. Actually, you know, on the bare terms of the JBC rules and even under the Constitution, hindi pwede if you are not a member of the Bar and has had at least 10 years of practice. So how can a nurse be a member of the Bar? Unless she is a member of the Bar, she is not qualified," De Lima stressed.
Under JBC rules, automatically nominated are the five most senior justices of the Supreme Court led by the now Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio. The other most senior justices are Presbitero J. Velasco Jr., Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro, Arturo D. Brion, and Diosdado M. Peralta.
So far, only Pangalangan and Legarda have accepted their nominations in separate letters sent to the JBC.
The JBC will start its public interview of the nominees on June 25. (With a report from Leonard D. Postrado)