June 23, 2012
KIKO TO JBC: BE READY TO ASK NOMINEES "DIFFICULT QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ASKED" DURING THE PUBLIC INTERVIEWS
Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, who earlier had lobbied for the Judicial and Bar Council to open to media and the public proceedings in the search for Chief Justice, said that the next crucial step is to subject the nominees to appropriate scrutiny and "ask the difficult questions that need to be asked." He also enjoined the public to submit their own questions.
Pangilinan said, "JBC should also invite the public to submit their questions to the council, from which the members may be guided in the preparation of their own questions."
"There are positive and negative sides but, all told, transparency will make the process more accountable and the acts of the JBC members will not be prone to abuse. It will also allow the public to see for themselves how the nominees respond to probing questions."
"I, for one, would like to know how nominees who are closely identified with the President would respond to questions regarding doubts as to their independence.
"Whether they answer the questions convincingly or not then the public will be better aware of their fitness. The public has the right to know about this and other critical issues."
The lawmaker also said that, as far as the coverage goes, it is "better boring and transparent than hidden from public view. The impeachment trial had its share of boring and uneventful trial days. That's how it is. Nothing can be exciting all the time--and the live coverage isn't being done to offer something exciting to the viewers. It is being pushed because transparency creates greater accountability."
A former ex-oficio of the JBC, Pangilinan challenged nominees: "They should also explain their stand on the use of the JDF and the allegations of the lack of transparency."
"The JBC members should do their homework and ensure that the difficult questions that need to be asked must be asked so that the issues can be crystalized for the public," Pangilinan added. "The JBC members, especially the regular members, must rise up to the occasion and ensure that the selection process must be tough on the nominees but fair."
Other questions that Senator Pangilinan wants to ask are: "Is the conviction rate of 16 percent in criminal cases acceptable to you? If not, what do you intend to do to raise the conviction rates to that comparable to HK, for example, which has a conviction rate of 79 percent. What about corruption in the judiciary? How will you ensure that our judges and justices do not succumb to corruption?"
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