Sandiganbayan chief Cabotaje-Tang makes it to SC short list
MANILA, Philippines – Anti-graft court Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang made it to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) short list for a possible shot at the Supreme Court.
Tang is among the 10 shortlisted to replace Associate Justice Noel Tijam, who is retiring on January 5, 2019.
The short list cuts half from the 19 applicants, with Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz among those dropped. Dela Cruz dissented in the 3-2 decision to acquit former senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr of plunder.
Earlier, Dela Cruz also didn't make the short list for Ombudsman, a position that eventually went to his former colleague at the Sandiganbayan, Samuel Martires.
Tang, on the other hand, overcame an opposition sent to the JBC by individuals purporting to be "concerned employees" of the Sandiganbayan who protested her allegedly dictatorial style of leadership.
Fortunately for Tang, the Supreme Court had already dismissed a similar complaint against her earlier this year. Only the Supreme Court can remove justices of lower level courts.
This is Tang's 3rd time to apply for the Supreme Court.
She was appointed Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan in 2013 by former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. She was then a junior justice, drawing parallelisms with the fate of Maria Lourdes Sereno whose quo warranto ouster was spurred by discontent from within the Supreme Court. Sereno was appointed chief justice despite being a junior justice.
The short list contains the following names, according to JBC member Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra:
- Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Manuel Barrios (6 votes)
- CA Justice Japar Dimaampao (6 votes)
- CA Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier (6 votes)
- Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang (5 votes)
- CA Justice Ramon Cruz (5 votes)
- CA Justice Ramon Garcia (5 votes)
- CA Justice Mario Lopez (5 votes)
- CA Justice Apolinario Bruselas (4 votes)
- Court Administrator Midas Marquez (4 votes)
- Former Ateneo law school dean Cesar Villanueva (4 votes)
On Friday, the JBC also opened applications for SC associate justice to fill the spot left by Lucas Bersamin when he was appointed Chief Justice.
Excluding his choices for chief justice, the Tijam replacement would be President Rodrigo Duterte's 8th appointee to the High Court, and the Bersamin replacement, his 9th. By 2022, 13 of 15 spots in the Supreme Court would be filled with Duterte appointees. – Rappler.com