JBC starts finding replacement for sacked Sandigan justice

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(From left to right) Sandiganbayan Senior Justice Gregory Ong, Senator Jinggoy Estrada and pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has formally started its selection process for the replacement of dismissed Sandiganbayan Senior Justice Gregory Ong.

The seven-member constitutional body tasked to vet nominees to judicial posts opened the nomination for the vacancy in the anti-graft court.

The JBC has set the deadline for filing of nominations and applications on Nov. 6 and for submission of required documents on Nov. 21.

After receiving the names, the council will then screen the nominees through public interview and background checking.

The law requires a Sandiganbayan justice to be a natural-born citizen, at least 40 years of age, and to have at least 10 years experience as a judge or of law practice.

A magistrate of the anti-graft court that handles corruption cases of government officials is also required to have probity, integrity and independence, just like members of the Supreme Court (SC).

The SC ordered Ong dismissed from judicial service over links to alleged pork barrel fund scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

In its final last week, the high court also has found Ong guilty of gross misconduct, dishonesty and impropriety under the New Code of Judicial Conduct when he met Napoles twice after acquitting her in a malversation through falsification of public documents case involving the sale in 1998 of 500 Kevlar helmets to the Philippine Marines.

The high court also ordered the forfeiture of Ong’s retirement benefits except accrued leave credits and his perpetual disqualification from reemployment in government service.

Ong is the first justice of the anti-graft court to be dismissed from the judiciary.

Apart from the Sandiganbayan vacancy, the JBC also opened the selection process for a vacancy in the Court of Appeals (CA) for the retirement of Associate Justice Vicente Veloso on Jan. 7, 2015.

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